SIJ Oita 2017 Opening Ceremony Welcomes Many Amazing Speakers


At this year’s opening ceremony, SIJ welcomed 10 students from Harvard University, Stanford University and UT Austin as members of Team USA, as well as participating students from 11 different countries.

For the next seven days, Team USA would be teaching English writing and other academic skills, supported by Team Oita which consists of members from Oita University’s Faculty of Medicine and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

The Founder and President Mari Hirotsuru opened the seminar with an address stating that there are three important skills that students should acquire during their time at SIJ: open mindedness, being open and curious about others;  proactivity, making things happen; and time management, to maximize life experiences.

Next, SIJ Board Member Norio Murakami, provided some words which were read by Patrick Johnston, SIJ’s educational advisor, stating that the instructors from Team USA would be giving their charges access to a unique opportunity to learn in a diversity-rich environment, which would enable them to not just learn “English” but to learn “in English”.

The Mayor of Oita City, Kiichiro Sato, then spoke about his happiness to be at SIJ to celebrate the start of SIJ 2017 and expressed his confidence that this program would be a good opportunity for students to meet and study with distinguished instructors from the USA.

From the Boston Red Sox, Mr. Shun Kakazu spoke about his time studying at Harvard and in Australia, and how he learned that some things he had taken for granted were not always as easy as they were for other people.

Alena Farber, from Team USA, talked about how the skills taught at SIJ, not only English but also how to be confident, how to communicate, and how to write well, would provide opportunities to talk to people from different backgrounds and allow people to fill in the gaps between different cultures.

Mathieu, an SIJ student visiting Oita from Canada, spoke about his Japanese-Quebecois heritage and his experiences growing up in three linguistic environments: English, French, and Japanese.

Team USA

Team Oita