University College (UC), home to Syracuse University’s English Language Institute, has 10 Japanese students from Tokai University on campus this semester. Tokai University has been sending students to the ELI for many years as part of their study abroad experience.
As news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan broke, administrators at UC focused on helping students contact their family members hit by the disaster. All of the students were able to contact their families, although for some it took 48 hours or more to establish communication. All of their families are safe.
The Tokai students are working with the Japanese Student Association to collect money. Additionally a Japanese flag is situated in the ELI upon which students can write messages. Funds collected, as well as the flag, will be sent to the Japanese Consulate General in New York City at the end of the month.
“The Tokai students are scheduled to return to Japan the week of March 28 for the start of the Tokai semester,” says associate dean and ELI director Geraldine de Berly. “Understandably, the returning students are concerned about their country and the welfare of their family members.”
In addition, the ELI has been able to contact many former students who have returned to Japan and has received good news as to their well-being.