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International experience offered through Summer Adventure Zone

Doane is once again hosting an opportunity for cultural learning for Senshu Matsudo Junior High School and Crete area students through Summer Adventure Zone.

Doane began originally hosting the event in 2004 as a way for the Japanese students from Senshu Matsudo to use English in context.

“It’s a real practical application of the learning that takes place in the classroom culturally and linguistically,” said Jan Willems, director of international programs.

The program consists of classes from 9 a.m. until noon, in which American and Japanese students take classes together.

Some of the classes that have been offered are: robot olympics, math magic and the imagination, dance, theater, and arts and crafts.

“Every year we’ve generally tried to build on the experience,” Willems said. “Some classes change, but some are very popular like robot olympics. We’ve had (Information Science Professor) Alec Engebretson teaching that class since we’ve started.”

The classes are generally taught by Doane professors, local specialists and sometimes local high school teachers.

Doane students also work with the Japanese students as small group mentors.

In the afternoon, Japanese students get the opportunity to do Nebraska-related activities.

The students go to a local restaurant in Lincoln and learn how to use money for the first time. They visit Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, the Museum of Nebraska History and the state capital among other things.

“They learn about Runza,” Willems said. “Those little things that are unique and interesting about Nebraska  - Willa Cather and other Nebraskans of note.”

Summer Adventure Zone is a rich experience for everyone involved.

“For Senshu students it gives them the opportunity to put their learning into experience,” Willems said. “For Doane, it’s a chance to provide this great opportunity of cultural learning for local students and it provides Doane students the opportunity to do some classroom assisting and tutoring.”