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Japan Trip Among Highlights of ‘Study Abroad’ Session

A Spring 2005 trip to Japan offers a unique educational and cultural opportunity.For the second time, a May trip to Japan will offer Penn College students the opportunity to study in another country for a short period and to earn course credits for their participation. An information session on the short-term study-abroad programs to be offered this summer which also includes trips to Australia and France is slated from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, in Penn’s Inn, second floor of the Bush Campus Center.

The Japan program is an exchange between Penn College and Tsuyama National College of Technology in Tsuyama, Japan.

Penn College students will spend two weeks in Japan (May 15-29): a week in Tsuyama, followed by about one week in Osaka.

The students’ stay in Tsuyama includes a visit to castle ruins, a dip in natural hot springs, shopping for souvenirs in old-town Joto, tours of industrial parks and visits to Tsuyama National College of Technology. While there, participants will be hosted by Japanese families.

Students will then stay in Osaka for about a week, exploring the city’s attractions. Osaka is known for its cuisine and combines cultural attractions with the amenities of a modern Japanese city.

“We are going to see Japan’s old side, and the new, modern, cosmopolitan side,” said Dr. Joseph LeBlanc, instructor of physics, who coordinates the exchange with Tsuyama National College of Technology.

The trip also includes a one-day visit to Kyoto, where participants will see raked pebble gardens, modern-day geishas, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, castles and museums, and a trip to the city of Hiroshima and its Peace Park.

The Japan trip is designed for a student in any major. It is not tied to any specific program.

“I?m going to customize the trip to whatever the students’ interests are,” Dr. LeBlanc said. Dr. LeBlanc lived in Japan for eight years, earned his doctorate there and is fluent in Japanese.

Students may earn three credits toward their degree, which will qualify as course requirements for an open elective. If students fulfill the course work and meet requirements of the study-abroad program, they may earn credit for life experience for the course.

“You will be earning college credits and, at the same time, traveling and learning the culture from the inside, because you will be staying with Japanese families and spending time with Japanese students,” Dr. LeBlanc said.

Costs for the Japan trip are estimated at $2,800. That includes $2,000 paid to Penn College based on a minimum of five students participating that covers airfare, all housing, and, while in Tsuyama, the in-country transportation, meals and activities. In addition, students will pay for their own meals and transportation outside of Tsuyama, and all personal expenses.

Dr. Lawrence J. Fryda, dean of industrial and engineering technologies, has helped to develop three study-abroad programs at Penn College, including the exchange with Tsuyama National College of Technology and a new, two-week program with Central Queensland University in Australia that will be offered for the first time this summer. The first exchange program he arranged at Penn College was an exchange with Instituto Tehnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey campus in Toluca, Mexico.

To be eligible for the trip, students must have a grade-point average of at least 2.5.

Students from Tsuyama National College of Technology visit Penn College in October to tour campus and the Williamsport area.

For more information about the program, contact Anita E. Casper, international programs specialist (ACC, Room7B); or Dr. LeBlanc (ATHS, RoomE228-A).

Application deadline, with a $300 deposit, is Feb. 15.

Short-term study-abroad opportunities also are available to France, Italy, Japan and Australia.

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