By Joan Kjaer
Every two years, a group of Japanese students from Joetsu University of Education spends several days visiting local attractions and offering an exchange of cultures at local elementary and secondary schools in eastern Iowa. The group also takes part in several events on the University of Iowa campus. The ten day Joetsu Exchange  is facilitated by International Programs at the University of Iowa.
Nine Japanese visitors will arrive in Iowa City on Sept. 20 and participate in a wide array of learning and teaching activities at Lucas and Weber Elementary Schools in Iowa City and at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. The educational experience provides a short immersion into international education and engages American students in Japanese language and culture through presentations and classroom observations by the teachers-in-training.
The students from Japan take the responsibility of serving as cultural ambassadors very seriously. They prepare their lessons on traditional stories, kimono culture, traditional Japanese toys and sumo wrestling for months.
The exchange is part of a global collaboration between the UI and the Japanese teaching university, a relationship that spans more than 10 years. This connection is one of more than 60 formal partnerships between the UI and international institutions.