BY CHRISTYANNE SAN JUAN
PHOTO COURTESY OF COD INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
College of the Desert’s thriving International Education Program has begun a new student exchange agreement with Toyo University. This agreement marks the Japanese university’s first time sending students abroad to study at a community college.
Nineteen students from Toyo University in Tokyo, Japan, have made their way to the desert to study at COD for an overseas study program lasting three weeks, during which the students will be fully integrated into the Intensive English Program. This is a ‘not-for-credit’ English program created primarily for international students. This program assists students in quickly developing academic English skills, with the goal of transferring to COD to begin a degree.
“One of the purposes for these students being here is to improve their English,” explained Director of the International Education Program, Cody McCabe. “The curriculum that we teach in that program works really well for them.”
The beginning of the relationship between COD and Toyo University occurred a few years ago through McCabe. He said that he knew Japanese colleagues that were affiliated with Toyo University through his previous work in the International Program at University of New York and contacted them regarding the program housed at COD.
In his discussions with his Japanese colleagues, McCabe described the many resources and experiences that College of the Desert offered, along with the benefits of partnering with a community college. This included the close-knit student community at COD, the many activities on campus that allow them to integrate with other students, and the ability to build a more personal relationship with professors and instructors.
Following this exchange, Toyo University sent representatives to see COD and learn about the curriculum provided. The representatives were impressed with College of the Desert, and as a result began to write an agreement with COD in order to allow their students to enroll.
Toyo University is one of the largest universities in Japan, with its main campus located in the country’s capital of Tokyo. The university was founded in 1887 by one of Japan’s most respected philosophers, Dr. Inoue Enryo, and has had a long focus on internationalization. This resulted in a very active overseas study program, and the university welcomes over a thousand students from abroad while encouraging their own student body to experience other countries.