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Sydney welcomes Tohoku University students one year after tsunami


1 March 2012

The Japanese students will learn English through immersion in subjects relevant to their degrees.
The Japanese students will learn English through immersion in subjects relevant to their degrees.

Just one year after one of the most powerful known earthquakes hit Japan and devastated their region, a group of 13 students from Tohoku have arrived at the University of Sydney to undertake an intensive English language course that uses concepts from maths and physics to teach the language.

"The 13 students in the program will explore physics and mathematical concepts in English as their second language through interactive workshops," said Patrick Pheasant, Director of the University's Centre for English Teaching. "The program will be run by Teachers of English to Speakers Of Other Languages experts, and key lecturers and researchers in the field of mathematics and physics at Sydney."

The Centre for English Teaching (CET) at the University of Sydney offers university pathway programs for international postgraduate students requiring English language, academic skills and global communication competencies.

The program for these Japanese students is the only program of its kind in Australia that develops English skills through immersion in subject content relevant to the students' choice of degree.

This program is particularly important to Sydney as it is funded by the Prime Minister's Education Assistance Program for Japan.

The Centre for English Teaching was hosting several customised programs for Tohoku University students last year in March when the tsunami devastated the Tohoku region in northern Japan.

The Centre for English Teaching worked closely with Japanese authorities to assist students in Sydney at the time to contact their families and friends and return home when it was safe. The students and teachers raised more than $2000 and donated this to the Australian Red Cross Japan Disaster Appeal 2011.

"The University of Sydney, the Centre for English Teaching, the School of Physics and School of Mathematics and Statistics welcomes Tohoku University students to Sydney for the next three weeks and looks forward to a continued close relationship between our nations and our universities," Patrick Pheasant said.

"We have worked closely with the School of Physics and School of Mathematics and Statistics to collaboratively design an original and challenging program that explores concurrent development of language skills, academic understanding of these disciplines and global communication skills."


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Media enquiries: Jacqueline Chowns, 02 9036 5404, 0434 605 018, jacqueline.chowns@sydney.edu.au