October 26, 2023

Japanese Language Program Matches Every Student with a Tutor

A student smiles while working on her laptop(Photo credit: Levi Sim, Utah State University)

Every student in Utah State University’s Japanese Language and Culture program has been paired with a Japanese-speaking tutor for weekly conversations as a part of regular coursework.

Before 2020, the program relied on exchange students from USU’s seven partner universities in Japan to provide weekly conversation with the students. However, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, this decades-long practice and crucial aspect to the success of the program became impossible.

Fortunately, the pandemic also opened new doors, and as Zoom delivery became ubiquitous, the Japanese language program saw new possibilities. In the summer of 2023, USU’s instructors reached out to their partner schools in Japan to find tutors willing to help enhance the student learning experience. The response was phenomenal, with over 80 volunteers stepping up.

The program’s faculty then set about playing “matchmaker” and paired each student with a Japanese-speaking tutor. Thanks to the overwhelming response, every USU Japanese language learner has been matched for the fall 2023 semester. In addition, these new connections open up the possibility of volunteer students becoming exchange students at USU in the future.

USU’s Japanese language program is proud to partner with the following universities in Japan: Waseda, Tsukuba, Yokohama National, Gifu, Kobe, Seinan Gakuin, and Kansai Gaidai, and the Department of World Languages and Cultures will continue looking for innovative ways to provide genuine opportunities for language learners at Utah State.

For more information about the Japanese Language and Culture minor at USU, visit: https://chass.usu.edu/languages/tracks/japanese

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