Drs. Jason Laurendeau, a sociology professor, and Carly Adams, a kinesiology professor, along with their five-year-old son Quinn, have been absorbing Japanese culture for the past four months as part of an exchange program with Hokkai Gakuen University in Sapporo.
Laurendeau is a visiting professor at Hokkai Gakuen where he is spending the fall semester teaching courses in Canadian Nature and Society to students from a variety of faculties.
“This is a great opportunity for me to teach in another university culture but also for us as researchers to spend a semester abroad,” says Laurendeau.
The family lives on campus and Quinn attends a Japanese kindergarten. Hokkai Gakuen has provided them with opportunities to attend university functions and participate in cultural excursions.
“This past weekend we were guests at the Hokkai Gakuen University Alumni Reception,” says Adams. “It is the 60th anniversary of the university and this was an important event to celebrate this milestone.”
They’ve also had the chance to explore the city and surrounding area, including the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium and Museum where the 1972 Sapporo Olympic ski jumping competition was held. The visit was particularly interesting for Laurendeau and Adams as they both do research and write about sport, gender and embodiment and they have jointly published on the topic of Olympic ski jumping.
The U of L and Hokkai Gakuen have had an exchange program for 33 years. Designed to promote cross-cultural understanding, the first faculty exchange took place in 1981 and the first student exchanged followed five years later.