Seton Hill community embraces Japanese students
As Kyoka Mizuno held the hand of the nun at the Cartas Christi retirement home, the young woman found guidance for her life.
Before that encounter in Greensburg, Mizuno, 19, a second-year student at Nanzan Junior College in Japan, had been reluctant to speak in public.
But the elder woman advised, “‘Don't be afraid. Speaking is good,'” Mizuno said.
Mizuno and 12 other women from the private Catholic college in Nagoya spent 11 days helping the 80 residents at the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity.
During the visit, they improved their English skills and enjoyed some fun at local attractions during the program sponsored by Seton Hill University.
Their professors — Rumi Itoh, a Seton Hill graduate, and Aya Kawakami — helped the students on their journey and sometimes translated during interviews.
In the morning, the students did laundry, worked in the kitchen, gardened, helped to nurse some retired sisters who need assistance and talked about life.
In the afternoons, the students studied English.
At night, they reflected on their day and the importance of helping the poor and others in need.
“It's been a pretty intense schedule,” said university associate provost Terry DePasquale, who oversaw the visit.
Ruriko Aiba, 19, said the sisters taught her about the meaning of helping others and gratitude, .
“It should be something that is in us and given daily, naturally,” she said.
Sayuri Yamada, 20, worked in the retirement home's garden, where she discovered her efforts went beyond just tending flowers.
“Any job is important,” Yamada said.
The students learned about Americans, American cuisine and the passion for baseball shared by both the United States and Japan.
On Aug. 3, the students and their teachers took in an Altoona Curve baseball game.
“I like baseball!” exclaimed Mizuno, the previously quiet student. “A player gave me a ball.”
Aiba couldn't get over the size of American food portions, opting to politely describe them as “generous.”
Four students who were interviewed became animated with excitement as they discussed Cyclones — the waffle cones with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream served at Idlewild and Soak Zone in Ligonier Township.
“I could not eat it all, so I shared it with two people,” Aiba said.
“And I liked the roller coaster,” she added. “I liked it very much.”
Chika Naiki, 19, said she especially enjoyed activities with the Sisters of Charity and others on campus. She said she learned that Americans are a more diverse people than she previously realized.
Yamada said she couldn't get over the size of a Walmart store. And everything is on one floor, she said.
Kawakami explained that because of limited space in Japan, all stores are built with multiple floors.
“I was able to find many things I needed,” Yamada said of her shopping.
University officials plan to continue the exchange program.
“We expect to do this every summer now that we got it going,” DePasquale said.
Officials hope to send Seton Hill students to Japan starting in 2015.
The students returned to Japan last Sunday with improved English skills and lessons in life.
Yamada said she will tell friends and family “of the kindness of the people and the university.”
Mizuno said she had been reluctant about participating in a program with the elderly, a requirement for her education major.
“I feel more (willing) to go then before,” she said. “My motivation has changed.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Charges filed in stolen property investigation
- Mt. Pleasant Township home destroyed by fire
- Latrobe pharmacy will offer overdose antidote
- 4 sentenced for roles in botched Lower Burrell heist
- Wrongful death suit against Westmoreland Manor settled
- Greensburg Hempfield Area Library board to consider tax referendum
- Southwest Greensburg blaze was set, fire marshal says
- Ligonier YMCA expansion back in court
- Seniors assured of continued access to Arnold Palmer Cancer Pavilion in Westmoreland County
- Greensburg car salesman charged with $113K theft
- Deputies nixed by county commissioners for Westmoreland Air Show