In December 2001, local people together with IUJ staff established in UONUMA the Association for Multicultural Exchange (called UMEX). With financial sponsorship from the Nakajima Memorial International Foundation, and the Association of International Education in Japan (AIEJ), UMEX officially started its activities on May 26, 2002.
The purpose of UMEX is to foster multicultural interaction, support foreign residents in this region and enhance Japanese awareness of foreign cultures.
IUJ was founded in 1982 and now approximately 300 international students from 50 countries study there. IUJ students have various cultural and religious backgrounds creating a diverse atmosphere on its campus. This makes IUJ unique when compared to other universities in Japan.
Unfortunately some misunderstanding between IUJ international students and local people happen because of the lack of communication between both parties. Therefore some local people and IUJ staff have reached the conclusion to establish UMEX, which not only solves such matter, but also makes UONUMA more attractive with the awareness of a culturally diverse environment.
UMEX aims at becoming the “connecting place” between local people interested in international exchange and IUJ students. Furthermore, UMEX is willing to enhance communication between IUJ and the local government on various matters and help internationalizing UONUMA as a whole.
UMEX holds about 100 members, housewives, local government officials, businessmen and self-employed workers; and encompasses members from the early 20s to 70s of age. This wide diversity underpins various activities undertaken by UMEX, allowing international students to attain well-balanced understanding of the Japanese culture and society.
Members gather twice a week in the UMEX salon located at the IUJ Student Dormitory No. 3, first floor. The salon is open every Saturday from 13:00 – 15:00 respectively.
The UMEX salon is a place where everyone could meet and talk on a continuous and regular basis to foster interactions. It is an excellent gateway for IUJ students and their families to get to know local people and community. Conversations held at the UMEX salon are often reflected to a variety of activities, including a bus trip, rice harvesting tour, mountain climbing, wild vegetable cooking as well as presentation by international students or Japanese students of their traditional culture.
UMEX will provide the Japanese language programs for IUJ students.
The program to be offered are as follows and the details will be announced at the early of October, December and April. If you wish to participate in our program, please contact a UMEX coordinator.
UMEX Japanese Tutor Program: Application Form
UMEX will assist in finding a tutor. In principle, IUJ student and tutor will meet once a week and practice to speak Japanese about for one and half hours. The textbook, the schedule and the place to meet will be decided by the student and their tutor respectively.
UMEX provide the Homestay/Homevisit Program to give you a chance to explore Japanese family life, tradition and culture. However, we don’t have the capacity to offer host families to everyone interested because “homestay” is not common in Japan so far. Therefore, to introduce guests to host families with confidence, we will give preference to those who hang out at the UMEX salon.
Date and Time: Basically homestays will be offered on weekends or holidays. The conditions or invitation for each homestay set by the host families will be posted only on the bulletin board in the UMEX salon.
The host families are all volunteers and you do not have to pay for lodging and food expenses in the home up to two nights three days in principle. However, you are supposed to pay the following expenses: all travel expenses during your stay including transportation to and from the host family’s home, expenses for food served outside the home, telephone charges, your own shopping and other expenses for yourself.
(a) Check out the invitation on the bulletin board in the UMEX salon.
(b) Fill in the application and contact an UMEX coordinator as shown on the invitation.
(c) After receiving the confirmation from an UMEX coordinator, please contact your host family and agree on a time to visit them and pick up travel arrangements so on.
If you have to cancel the stay/visit due to unavoidable circumstances, please inform your host family and an UMEX coordinator as soon as possible. Cancellation without notice would be inconsiderate and inconvenient for your host family who are preparing for your stay/visit. If it happens, you may be excluded from UMEX Hoststay/Homevisit Program in the future.
After your homestay/homevisit, please email your experiences and thoughts (with photos if available) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to build up this program step by step. Your feedback and comments on this program would be appreciated.