College offers trip to Japan

by Jackie Tempera / Beacon Staff • April 4, 2013

A summer history course is set to expand academics outside the classroom, taking 10 students on a weeklong trip to Japan.

The course, Asia in World History 1750-2000, is a six-week class in the first of the two summer sessions, which fulfills students’ historical perspective in their general education requirements. The weeklong excursion will be spent touring Tokyo, listening to two lectures at Tokyo International University (TIU), and visiting the city of Kyoto, according to David Griffin, the director of international study and external programs.  

President M. Lee Pelton established a relationship between Emerson College and TIU after visiting the university in the fall. During his four-day visit, Pelton signed a  memorandum of understanding with the school. 

Plane tickets and hotel costs will be paid for by a grant from the Japan Foundation, said Griffin. This  organization is dedicated to intercultural communication between the United States and Japan, according to its website. Griffin declined to comment on the amount of the grant. 

Paul Niwa, the journalism department’s interim chair, applied for the grant and is organizing the program. Niwa could not be reached for immediate comment. 

Sharmishtha Roy Chowdhury, a historian-in-residence, will teach the course. Chowdhury and Niwa will travel with the students, according to Griffin. 

Niwa, Chowdhury, and Griffin will select 10 students for the program, said Griffin. Potential attendees will be judged on their grades, class standing, and a personal essay that must be submitted with their applications, he said. 

Griffin said applicants’ personalities will also be taken into account. 

“We want someone who will play nice with others,” said Griffin. “If a small group like that doesn’t get along, it is hell.”

Freshman Magdalena Rojas Lynch said she submitted an application for the class.  

“I think it’d be really cool to put what we are learning into practice,” the writing, literature, and publishing major said. “I feel like we learn everything better by example.”

The application deadline is April 25, but admission is rolling. Twelve applications had been submitted as of Wednesday morning, according to Griffin. The trip is a required part of the summer course, according the class’ syllabus. 

Griffin will host an information session tonight, at 6 p.m.
in Walker 503.