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TCC Signs Agreement with UKK, Welcomes 10th Exchange Group

TCC Signs Agreement with UKK, Welcomes 10th Exchange Group photo

Monday, March 18, 2013 – For the last 5 years, student groups have been coming over from the University of Kitakyushu (UKK) to spend 6 months studying at TCC. A new agreement between the two colleges means that that exhcange has the potential to become a 2-way street.

On March 20, Tacoma Community College will welcome the 10th group of exchange students from Kitakyushu, Japan, graduate the 9th group, and sign an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allowing TCC students to study in Japan. The commencement and welcoming ceremonies start at 5:30 p.m. in the Building 11 Student Center. The signing takes place at 11 a.m. in the International Student Services Lobby, Bldg. 11.  

Since its inception in 2008, the 6-month “Global Discovery” program has allowed approximately 250 UKK students to study at Tacoma Community College. The partnership has been a success for both colleges. According to James Newman, TCC’s Director of International Programs, UKK students place their names on waiting lists and go through an extensive screening process for the opportunity to participate in the increasingly popular program.

“It changes their life,” said Newman. “The students that return – they’re a completely different individual because of this program.”  

Students are placed with local families for “homestay” experiences. They study at TCC for 2 quarters, earning 30 credits which transfer directly to the UKK. When they sign up for the program, students pay a flat fee that covers everything from tuition and fees to trips to Mt. Rainier… and Mariners games.

“One of the most memorable moments from the program occurred with one of the first groups,” said Newman.  “We took them to a baseball game, and they were all holding Ichiro signs. Ichiro turned and threw them a baseball, and one of them caught it – the students were in tears!” 

Akari Takahashi is one of the students who will be graduating from the exchange program. She entered it at the recommendation of a friend – and because it fit in well with her plan to study English.

“I made many American friends. They took the UKK students everywhere, and our host families were really good,” said Takahashi.

The partnership between the schools started because of the “Sister Cities” relationship between Tacoma and Kitakyushu, which has been in place since 1959. Debbie Bingham of Tacoma’s Sister Cities Commission plans to attend the ceremonies, and UKK Vice President Kenichi Kihara will sign the MOU with TCC President Dr. President Transue.

For additional information, please contact:
Rachel Payne
Communications Consultant
Phone: 253.460.4381


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