UW Richland hosts English immersion program for Japanese exchange students
Local teens share their culture and language
words—and I’ve learned that they are very good at writing English.”
In addition to Boothe, Nick Hefty, Platteville, Clara McGlynn, Reedsburg, and Julie Mulvaney-Kemp, Viroqua, are back for a second
year with this annual program. Back for their third year are Cassie Bauer, Mauston, Amanda Larson, New Lisbon, and Tiffany Schumer,
The American teens plan weeks in advance for this program, preparing activities to help support language and cultural learning.
Once the program gets underway, local teens are an around-the-clock support network. They eat meals, go to classes, take part in
activities and share living quarters with the Japanese teens.
In addition to four professional ESL teachers, the program staff includes a number of area people—on-site coordinator Jessica
Laeseke, Muscoda; Pat Meuer, Cobb; Aasha Dobbs, Richland Center; Antonio Thomas, a recent UW-Richland graduate from Madison;
and interpreter David Kopitzke, Richland Center.
The students—both American and Japanese—have been out and about in the community. They’ve enjoyed roller skating, shopping,
and bowling. They had a picnic and played frisbee golf. On campus, they enjoyed a deejay dance. All these activities help acquaint the
Japanese students with daily life American-style.
“For these 58 Japanese students, Richland Center is truly their first taste of America,” Laeseke said. “Other than airports and
highways, this community is their introduction to the USA. We appreciate that the community has welcomed them. In their experiences
on campus and in the community, the students have worked very hard to improve their English speaking skills before they move on for
a year as exchange students in high schools across the country.”
For more information about UW-Richland’s Japanese program, including ways for area teens to be involved next year, visit the UW-
Richland website at richland.uwc.edu/ce and click on “Summer Youth programs.” Or contact UW-Richland Continuing Education
director Philip Denis by calling (608) 647-6186, Extension 249.
From UW Richland
“There are so many more cars here,” said Yutaro Yamada, a student
from Tokyo, Japan, one of 58 Japanese teens preparing for a year as high
school exchange students across the USA. The Japanese get their
introduction to American high school life and culture from southwest
Wisconsin teen mentors who live and study 24/7 with the Japanese July 29
– August 7 on the University of Wisconsin-Richland campus.
Yamada was amazed at both the number and different types of cars he
saw. In Tokyo, public transportation is more common. An aspect of local
summer culture he became well-acquainted with as he walked outdoors
was Wisconsin’s rich insect life. In terms of language, Yamada said, he’s
been working hard on the differences in the sounds of “R” and “L.”
Marcus Boothe, Montfort, who works with Yamada in small group
sessions, is back for his second year enthusiastically working with the UW-
Richland Youth for Understanding Japanese English as a Second Language
(ESL) students. “Meeting all these people is just great,” Boothe said. “We
teach them things and they teach us things. I’m learning some Japanese
Local students and their Japanese-students guests who
lives and studied on the UW-Richland campus July