The University of Iowa

Reflections on virtual education exchange between UI students and high school students in Japan

August 11th, 2021

A partnership between Iowa Sister States and the UI Conversation Center recently provided an intercultural exchange opportunity for UI students and high school students from Norin High School in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Nicole Oliver, former coordinator for international relations, International Strategies Division of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government, helped to coordinate the event. Her reflections are below. 

Nicole Oliver

Nicole Oliver

There’s something really unique about the bond between Iowa and Yamanashi. Its unyielding perseverance that has lasted over 60 years has been one that has surely changed the lives of many, many people. During the August 5 event, I was more than certain that it would continue to do so for 60 more years, and after that, 60 more.

The virtual exchange event between Yamanashi agricultural high school students and University of Iowa students gave an opportunity for students to form bonds far across the world and is one full step towards cultivating multicultural understanding both here in Japan and in Iowa as well. 

Although the current pandemic is terrible and still affecting Japan every day, nothing makes me happier than to think that, even still, it cannot stop this great friendship between our two homes. 

Here in Yamanashi many people look forward to inviting many more students in the near future and to helping form more everlasting friendships and bonds through our local youth. Although my time as a coordinator for international relations at the local Yamanashi office has ended, I look forward to seeing this program and the participants grow exponentially.