Nine Students Selected to Study in Japan

Morgan Pemberton, Student Reporter

Nine students have been picked to study Japanese abroad through the Kakehashi program at Marshall University.

The students were selected after they filled out a short application. 

“Students submitted a short essay, listed their Asian studies courses and listed a faculty recommender,” Zelideth Maria Rivas, a professor of Japanese and literature, said. “Per the JICE guidelines, preference was given to those who have studied Japanese or Asian studies.”

She added that the students had ten days to fill out the application and were notified the night before it was due. 

The Kakehashi program is run by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), and they are committed to thinking, learning and living together.

With JICE’s field approach, the students will be visiting educational sites and institutions, high tech and traditional industries, world heritage sites and provincial government offices.

The nine students chosen were Benjamin Fain, Darshan Sangani, Jaclyn Davis, Faith Bramlett, Hope Bramlett, Madison Knight, Aaliyah Manns, Haley Elkins and Ren Roy. 

The students will study the culture, history, society, technology and language by traveling to Tokyo and Nagoya.

Kakehashi means bridge, and the program hopes that the nine selected will be a bridge between cultures and nations because that is what the program is all about.

The program wants to promote the understanding of Japan in North America.

The students are expected to act as ambassadors for Marshall, the tri-state area and the United States.

The “Japan Friendship Ties Program” aims to promote people-to-people exchanges between Japan and various nations including Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean regions.

The North American region is the carrier of the Kakehashi project.

The selected students are traveling to Japan two years after Marshall was initially picked to be a participant in this program.

“Some students had prepared for the Kakehashi program since the first time that Marshall was selected as a participant institution in spring 2020,” Rivas said. “However, due to COVID-19, they were not able to travel.”

Rivas did say there was no criteria the students had to meet, but they had to show proof of vaccination and their current passport.

“Students are excited for the opportunity to visit Japan now that it has reopened to international tourists,” Rivas said.

She added that the students will be documenting their experience on social media and to look out for the hashtags “Kakehashi” and “Japan.”