Fulbright Scholar Brings Japanese Language and Culture to Wyoming | Brand Ave. studios

Photo courtesy of North West College

This spring, relations between the United States and Japan have a good chance of strengthening a little thanks to the presence of a new member of the Northwest College community.

Last September, Powell Community College in Wyoming welcomed its first Fulbright language teaching assistant, Chiyomi Sekiguchi. Originally from Japan, she taught Japanese 1010 in the fall and currently teaches Japanese 1010 and 1020 at Northwest. The Fulbright Program is a United States cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural relations and cultural diplomacy. It offers scholarships to foreign and American college seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists.

Northwest College students gain a competitive edge

“It’s a great way to not only diversify our community, but also internationalize our campus and our program,” says Amanda Enriquez, the college’s cross-cultural program manager. “It’s so important to us to be able to give our students the skills to enable them to be competitive in a global society.”

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The Japanese language has long been popular in the Northwest, with Japanese students accounting for the largest number of international students at the college.


Photo courtesy of North West College

International students on campus

Sekiguchi is joined on campus by 40 international students from 17 different countries – some of whom have come to the northwest from countries such as Pakistan, Germany and Russia through a variety of scholarship and exchange programs. Born and raised in Japan, she became interested in languages ​​and linguistics in elementary school. Before arriving in Wyoming, Sekiguchi taught English at a high school in Japan.

“As I had hoped to work and study in the United States for a long time,” she says, “I am very happy to be part of Northwest College. I would be happy if my students could establish a good relationship between Japan (and the United States) through my classes.

Sekiguchi also leads the Japanese Club, participates in community programs, and works with the Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant at Montana State University in Billings. She lives at Intercultural House on North West Campus.

Culture and language

“I think it gives students the experience of experiencing a culture from a native speaker,” says Enriquez. “A culture is a language and a language is a culture, and having native speakers teaching a language is so valuable because they can bring that cultural aspect into the teaching. His presence gives students and the community a rare chance to experience a different culture as only a native can teach it.

Make the global future bright

Created in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II, the Fulbright Program was introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and signed into law by President Harry Truman. Each year, it recognizes approximately 8,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals from the United States and 160 countries.

To date, more than 400,000 Fulbright scholars have studied, taught, and conducted research in each other’s countries while promoting international understanding and collaboration. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel laureates, 75 MacArthur Foundation scholars and 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as 40 heads of state or government.

For more information about Northwest College, visit nwc.edu.

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