Long Distance Relationships Can Work

Living proof of a lasting long distance relationship is that of Hope College and Meiji Gakuin University in Japan. This month Hope is celebrating the 50 years old exchange program. President Udono of Meiji Gakuin spoke at Chapel last Wednesday about the ties between our colleges and their common founding in the Christian faith. President Udono said that their challenge is to share the Gospel with college age students and they hope to one day have a Chapel service as filled as ours here at Hope.

President Udono of Meiji Gaukin University speaking at Dimnent Chapel
President Udono speaking at Chapel. One of the many great pictures from the Meiji Gakuin Anniversary Photo Gallery.

Tonight I bothered my neighbor in Van Vleck Hall while she did laundry with some questions about her Hope experience. My neighbor, Shigeri Hayashi, is an international student from Meiji Gakuin.

Shigeri studied here at Hope for just a month last year, but in that time loved the small community and the Hope College life. Her English was not as good then as it was now, so she wanted to return again for a longer period of time to improve her English to better understand professors and students, and to experience American college life. The best part of Shigeri’s experience so far has been how nice the Hope professors and students are and their constant willingness to help her with papers and class readings. Though Shigeri is not a Christian, she sometimes attends a Bible study and always feels comfortable there, glad to be a part of a Christian college community.

Shigeri said her biggest challenge has been the American food. For the first month it was alright, but then she realized how much she missed Japanese food. Sometimes she cooks for herself and has gone to Mizu Sushi downtown for some good Japanese food. So, we now have a date to get dinner there with some friends on Sunday. 🙂

So far, Shigeri’s experience has been wonderful and she is looking forward to interacting with more friends to continue improving her English and making a lot of memories while she is studying at Hope. She is looking forward to being a part of the String Orchestra next semester and performing this Saturday in IMAGES, an international showcase in which she will be dancing.

Students on stage at the 2014 IMAGES event
Students performing in last year’s IMAGES event from the IMAGES 2014 photo gallery

Through this relationship of Meiji Gakuin and Hope, Shigeri has been able to make new friends, memories and experience American college life. I, and many other Hope students, have been blessed by the opportunity to make new friends from across the world who will be dearly missed.  Thanks for talking with me, Shigeri!

Thank you for reading!
~Erin

PS: It’s fall which means campus is gorgeous which means lots of pretty pictures on my Instagram (@e_delaney333) which end up on my Twitter (@HopeErin18) so if you like fall pictures and either of those social platforms feel free to follow.

Published by Erin Hoolahan

Hi! My name is Erin Hoolahan and I am a Sophomore at Hope College. I am from Wexford, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh) and intend to double major in Classics and either English or Communications during my time here at Hope. I love to bake, play guitar and am involved in Ultimate Frisbee and Silent Praise. I am extremely excited about sharing my insights on life at Hope! Thanks for reading. :)

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