24 Students Sent to America through the 14th START Program

24 undergraduate first-grade students took part in the 14th START Program * for a period of two weeks from February 15 to March 2, 2014. Led by Associate Professor Taiji Hotta (International Center) and three other teaching staff members, the students were dispatched to study at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, U.S.

James Madison University is about a two-hour drive from the capital of Washington DC and is part of the International Network of Universities (INU) along with Hiroshima University.

During the two-week period of their stay, the participants of the START Program experienced campus life by living in a dormitory and sharing rooms with local students, who acted as RAs (Resident Advisors). On weekdays they listened to lectures on American society and culture held by JMU teachers and attended ordinary JMU lessons with the RA host students. During their free time they frequented the sports gym on the campus.

Aside from the university, the students also visited a fire station, a police station, Monticello (the estate of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States) and the Shenandoah Caverns. They also enjoyed exchange with children of the region and were involved in a wide range of activities so that they could have firsthand knowledge of American society and culture.

On the last day, the students held a presentation in English about “Differences in American and Japanese Senses of Value”, showing their impressions and achievements from their two-week stay.

For the START participants, it was their first time to experience student life abroad, and they discovered many differences between Japanese and American culture, students’ attitude toward study and activities outside of the curriculum. At the follow-up session, the participants expressed their common enthusiastic feeling that their START experiences were a starting point to give them a new determination to challenge learning languages, study abroad and attending on-campus international exchange activities etc.

* The START Program provides first year students who have little overseas experience the opportunity to attend lectures and see everyday life at a foreign partner university in order to raise interest in international/cross-cultural activities and studying abroad. It was established in 2010 and by the end of the academic year 2012, it has already been held 10 times. This time the 14th program was held in America following the Taiwanese, Indonesian and Australian programs held in the first semester of the academic year 2013 and the American, Vietnamese and New Zealand programs held in the second semester of the same year. The Hiroshima University Fund financially supports part of the research expenses to lessen students’ economic burden and to give a broader population of students the opportunity of study abroad. The participants went to study abroad following a 2-month training period before departure. Back in Japan, they had a follow-up session.

At the day of arrival, the RA host students came to the bus to

pick up their guests

Attending ordinary JMU lessons

A lesson at the 3D printing class room

Exchanging with local children

Giving a presentation in English on the last day

With President Alger of JMU


International Exchange Group,

Education and International Office,

Hiroshima University



(* Please replace (AT) with @)