The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University and Bunkyo Gakuin University in Japan have had a strong partnership for nearly 25 years. In addition to semester exchanges, CSB/SJU and BGU also run short term exchanges. Bennies and Johnnies visit Japan in May and we host students from Bunkyo Gakuin University in March. The students from Bunkyo Gakuin University used to come over the summer, but their program was moved to March in 2010 in order to allow the students to interact with CSB/SJU students during the American school year.
During their time visiting our campuses, students Bunkyo Gakuin University take ESL classes to improve their English and participate in Japanese language courses to give Bennies and Johnnies the chance to practice their language skills with a native speaker. It is a great opportunity for students of both languages to practice their communication skills. In addition to language classes, students from Bunkyo attend courses alongside CSB/SJU students such as Intercultural Communications, Film Studies, and Dance Studies.
While the Japanese students are visiting Minnesota, they are able to participate in many cultural activities and attend excursions. The Bunkyo students typically visit the Science Museum and the Mall of America. They also participate in a home-stay excursion with Bennies and Johnnies who have studied in Japan. In addition, the Japanese students are able to experience a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and help the CSB/SJU students prepare Japanese food for the Taste of Japan event.