SAN MARCOS, Texas — For the first time ever, Texas State University SJMC students will have a chance to branch out to Asia for a study abroad program in the summer of 2019.
“Japan is a very different country,” Academic program director Gilbert Martinez said. “Obviously, they speak a different language, and their daily life can be very different. I think being there and experiencing that does a couple of things. It helps you understand and appreciate a foreign country, but it also helps you understand and appreciate your own country.”
Martinez, who will be leading the program, said that students will be able to visit Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, all while earning course credit for MC 4382L Feature Writing and MC 4382O Travel Journalism.
“It’s simply an opportunity to travel to Japan, to visit important cultural sights, write about them, take photos and take short videos,” Martinez said. “Then, students will create media products: travel essays, feature stories, blog posts about the things they find interesting, about the things they want to write about “when we visit these places.”
The approximate cost for this trip is $5,000 which includes tuition, travel assistance and hotel boarding. Airfare will be separate which will range from $1,500 to $2,000.
“On one hand, this is quite pricey,” said Martinez. “I think it’s unfortunate that not everybody can get this great experience, but I think there are lots of advantages to doing a program run through the school, and you get the support of faculty members like myself and Jon Zimikly.”
Students who attend this study abroad program will have an opportunity to explore Japan, such as a day trip to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha, alongside Martinez. He is thrilled about this trip because he gets to go back to his Japanese roots.
“My mother was from Okinawa, Japan,” said Martinez. “I’m half Japanese. I’m half Okinawan. My father was from south Texas in the valley, so hence the ‘Martinez.’ So, I don’t consider myself a half of one and a half of the other. I consider myself a double because I get to draw from very rich heritages on both my mother’s side and my father’s side. So, this is something that is very personal to me.”
During the program, students will be visiting Japanese media companies and a Japanese University.
“I really love incorporating this idea that [students] will get the chance to meet other students like [themselves] but in Japan,” Martinez said. “They are going to be very curious about students from the United States.”
Applications will open in November and will be due by May 31. For more information regarding the trip, contact Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.