Toshihiro (Toshi) Iha’s and Mitsuhiro (Hiro) Matsumoto’s PAL,
Tejon Woods, is a person who really likes involvement in various
activities and loves to associate with people from other cultures.
He was president of the Japanese/English Association at a college
in San Francisco before coming to HPU. Now he is a senior and
served as fall president of the Society for Human Resource Management
(SHRM). He has traveled in the military, has a nursing degree,
and has worked in Japanese and Chinese hospitals.
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The two new students from Japan agreed that Woods
is a “very good guy” who helped them learn about Hawai‘i and
HPU and practice their English communication. Woods shared with
them his love of sports. He went to their soccer games and taught
them what he knew about basketball, helping them get membership
and access to practice basketball every week at 24-hour Fitness.
They dined together and shared a number of CELP
activities in the fall, including HPU volleyball, a trip to
Sea Life Park, and the annual CELP picnic. Mostly Toshi and
Hiro appreciated Tejon’s “friendliness and his funny jokes.”
It probably helped that he had learned some Japanese and had
spent nine months in Okinawa, their home.
Another active PAL in the fall was Karen Mirikitani,
a graduate student from the MA/MBA programs. “Getting to know
the international students reminded me when I was a tutor for
the EFP writing courses,” Mirikitani said. “This golden opportunity
to be a PAL member is priceless; I can fully empathize with
the students’ needs for the confidence to improve their English
language abilities, especially if they plan to make the transition
to regular college courses.”
Any HPU student interested in becoming a PAL in
the future can call 544-9324 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By definition, a pal is a person you know well, with whom you
can adventure in loyalty and understanding. Last fall , the
Center for English Language Programs (CELP) started a new volunteer
PAL program that would pair English-speaking HPU students with
student enrolled in lower-level English language courses (e.g.,
EFP 0400). Mary Landolt, CELP student advisor, developed the
idea to assist new international students coming to study English
at HPU. She knows new students studying basic English need to
get acquainted with the new environment as well as practice
their English language skills.
Landolt noticed that many new CELP students seemed confused
and reserved. “First-time HPU students in the EFP are often
homesick or overwhelmed from being away from home,” she said.
Such students “feel the need to be with students from their
own country, and the chances of their improving their English
are therefore hampered.” One EFP student, who was shy about
making a statement in English, said that the language is challenging,
and native speakers often don’t realize how complicated it really
can be. She added that there are just too many idioms and words
that sound alike but have different meanings. This is especially
true for students from such Asian countries as Japan, Korea,
and Taiwan, whose languages are unrelated to English.
In the fall, Landolt recruited 11 HPU students from various
undergraduate and graduate majors to work with the 16 students
in EFP 0400. Spring semester PALs are Sunny Ahn, Jacqueline
Chan, Felice Chia, Melody Cole, John Colobong, Bryan Feliciano,
Ben Kalu, Sunny Kim, Mervin Marenga, Michael Ogle, Jenne Rempel,
Linda Takai, and Sean Tong.
“We’ve started the new spring term and have invited more HPU
students to participate. New PALs will be assisted in the entire
process and can, but don’t have to, be in the Teaching English
as Second Language degree program to join in the fun of meeting
and matching up with our students,” said Landolt.
Major requirements for PALs include commitment, patience, and