GUNMA Nursing Program: A Retrospective

By Kate Spoor: The A.C.E. Language Institute at SPU welcomed eight students and two chaperones from Gunma Prefectural College of Health Sciences during the month of August, 2010.
They were here on a professional and English study tour for 10 days from August 14-22. A.C.E. Language Institute, in partnership with Seattle Pacific University’s School of Nursing, hosted the students.

Each year, Dr. Lucille Kelley, Dean of the Nursing School, arranges a tour of Seattle’s most famous hospitals for these visitors. This year the GUNMA students visited Children’s Hospital, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Swedish Hospital. During their hospital visits, they received professional lectures by doctors, nurses, and educators. Host Linda Latta spoke about Magnet Status; Professor Barbara Cheyney gave a lecture on America’s Health Care System; Swedish Medical staff gave an informative tour of the Cyberknife and Electronic ICU facility.

In order to prepare for the lectures, A.C.E. provided a morning medical English program with Ms. Christina Serkowski. She remarks, “With the students from GUNMA, we played with English they might use or encounter in their role as health-care providers. We had a great time!” In addition to English language support, Ms. Nozomi Maekawa helped translate the intense lectures into Japanese in order for the students to gain complete comprehension of their lessons. The combination of these two-hour English lessons in the morning and Nozomi’s interpretative skills were essential for the success of these students during their short stay in Seattle.

After the English lessons in the morning, two students were matched-up with a tutor who helped them with conversational English over lunch. Tutor Rachelle French describes her experience with the program: “I tutored two students (Chie and Maki) in English for the 2010 GUNMA program at SPU. It was such a pleasure to tutor them! They were both so eager to improve their English and learn about life in the U.S. (as I was to learn about life in Japan from them). We discussed their experiences here and how it compared to their expectations. We also talked about any difficulties they had communicating with their host families (and other people such as their bus drivers) and practiced phrases to help them resolve these miscommunications. Although the tutoring portion of their program lasted only one week, I was able to see their confidence speaking English notably increase by the end of the week.”

As Rachelle mentioned, students were placed with homestay families and had the chance to explore the city of Seattle during the evenings and weekends. Also, Ms. Nozomi took them to the Seattle Outlet malls the Saturday before their departure and took them on a Seattle tour. She wanted them to see the best of what Seattle had to offer.

Our partnership with SPU and this chance to work with college students from a nursing school were truly a pleasure. We look forward to hosting GUNMA students again next Summer!

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