Study abroad students are safe in Japan
Brandeis students studying abroad in Japan were not harmed in the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck the country last Friday, wrote University administrators, in e-mail interviews with the Justice.Three undergraduate students who are studying abroad in the city of Kyoto on Honshu Island "are not effected by the quake and tsunami, which was centered up North near the city of Sendai," Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid wrote in an e-mail to the Justice.
International Business School Senior Associate Director of Communications Matthew Parillo wrote in an e-mail to the Justice that three students from the IBS were planning to study in Japan, but that he believes there are currently no IBS students in Japan.
One IBS student-who was planning to study at Keio University in Minato, Tokyo and was in the country when the events took place-has since left Japan. Of the other two IBS students who were planning on studying in Japan, Parillo wrote that one of the students "e-mailed on behalf of himself and his fellow student, who we believe are currently outside of Japan, as they are now deciding whether or not to move forward with their plans."
Shawn Richardson '12, one of the undergraduate students studying abroad in Japan, wrote in an e-mail to the Justice, "I am studying abroad in Kyoto, which is about as far away from the affected areas (primarily the city of Sendai) as Boston would be from Washington, D.C. While some people reported feeling a slight vibration, I didn't even get that much. Certainly, life in Kyoto continues as normal, without any major disruption."
Van Der Meid wrote in his e-mail that students have been approved to study abroad in Japan this fall and the spring of next year. "It is too soon to tell if the programs will run or if there will need to be alternate arrangements made. We will continue to monitor this," he wrote.
As part of their program, IBS students can elect to study abroad for a semester with the IBS serving as their "home institution," Parillo wrote in his e-mail. He also wrote, "It [will remain] too early to speculate on any guidelines or decisions that pertain to future study abroad opportunities in Japan until more information becomes available."
Director of the International Students and Scholars Office David Elwell said in an interview with the Justice that there are 16 international students-nine undergraduates and seven graduate students-from Japan studying at Brandeis.
Elwell said that the ISSO sent a letter to the international community, offering its assistance. He also said that personal e-mails were sent out to international students from Japan, "letting them know the ISSO is available, [while] also making sure to identify separately that there are these other resources on campus that they can reach out to."
Elwell said that the ISSO had heard back from many students who are trying to communicate with their families in Japan. "That's one of the things that's really key, to make sure you're reaching out and really helping with that process," he said.
In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, the Student Union, Graduate Student Association and student clubs such as Brandeis Asian American Students Association and the Japanese Students Association are planning to collaborate on holding events that respond to the natural disasters.
JSA Co-President Nan Pang '13 said in an interview with the Justice that JSA is going to fundraise by selling "Pray for Japan" bracelets. Pang said that the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. JSA Co-President Angela Liao '13 also has been in communication with the other clubs and has expressed interest in planning a fundraising event in collaboration with them.
Student Union President Daniel Acheampong '11 said in an interview with the Justice that he has been in communication with GSA and the student clubs and intends to meet with them this Wednesday to discuss a "strategic way to help out."
Chiaki Fujiwara '11, an international student from Tokyo, said that she approached JSA, Japanese professors and the Intercultural Center about holding a fundraising event.
-Fiona Lockyer contributed reporting.
Editor's note: Nan Pang '13 is an editorial assistant for the Justice.