UW-Richland Seeks Student Mentors for Visiting Japanese Teens

High school students with strong English skills are encouraged to apply now to work as mentors with teens from Japan during the University of Wisconsin-Richland Japanese English as a Second Language (ESL) Institute planned for Aug. 1-11 on the University of Wisconsin campus in Richland Center.

The program offers Wisconsin teens the opportunity for an experience as close as one can get to traveling to another culture without leaving the area.

The summer Japanese ESL Institute, coordinated by the UW-Richland Continuing Education Office, has been held at UW-Richland since 1990. About 80 Japanese teens are expected to participate this summer and 20 U.S. teen mentors will work with them.

The program prepares Japanese teens for a year in the United States as high school exchange students. Japanese students will be in intensive English-language classes. In addition to preparing them to speak and understand American English, the program also familiarizes the teens from Japan with American culture and high school life. A family picnic on campus and a number of other social activities are planned.

Japanese students will study, live and interact with their American mentors. Each American teen participating in the program will work closely with a small group of Japanese teens, speaking to them in English, answering questions and providing information about life in the United States. American students will attend classes and live with Japanese students for the duration of the program. Those interested in being mentors need to have strong English skills and the recommendation of their high school English teacher. An in-person or phone interview will be conducted. Freshmen through senior high school students are welcome to apply.

Mentors need to be available for training July 20 and for the duration of the program. In return for participation, U.S. teens receive meals, lodging, activity fees and a likely world-expanding experience. Teens may be eligible for an honorarium. Often students in this program form international friendships that endure through the years.

Area high school students interested in participating can download an application form at richland.uwc.edu/ce/summer.asp or get one by mail by contacting program coordinator Jessica Laeseke in the UW-Richland Continuing Education Office. Her e-mail address is rlnce@uwc.edu, or contact her by phone at (608) 647-6186, ext. 227. The first round review of applications begins April 1.

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