By Robert Koepper,
MUSC International Programs
Every Saturday morning, some MUSC
international employees forego a morning of rest and gather to form
what has become a unique family. These are the English as a Second
Language (ESL) students.
English as a Second Language
students contributed their April lesson fees to the Japanese Red Cross
as part of Project Spring Blossom.
This group has formed a
tight bond through the common challenges they share in a new culture,
including learning American English. The recent earthquake and tsunami
have brought new challenges: past and present Japanese ESL class
members have had tragedy strike close to their families. The wife of
Eishi Nishimoto, a former MUSC postdoctoral scholar, had two relatives
killed in the recent tragedy. Eiji Suzuki, an MUSC postdoctoral
scholar, his wife and two children are here now. Suzuki's parents and
brother live about 30 miles from the center of destruction and remain
in their home despite the threats to their welfare. Suzuki's wife and
children postponed their return to Japan.
MUSC postdoctoral scholar
Masayuki Wada's family lives in the far Southwest of Japan. They were
not directly impacted by the tragedy but are sharing in the
difficulties of seeing their country recover.
As the ESL instructor, I
suggested the class initiate Project Spring Blossom. The fees students
contribute for their weekly lessons in the month of April will be
collected and sent to the Japanese Red Cross, the recipient suggested
by the Japanese students and agreed to by the members of the ESL family.
Project Spring Blossom raised $300 which
will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. During the April 21
International Bazaar, the Japanese Earthquake Relief (all Japanese
faculty) raised nearly $3,000. To donate to the Japanese Red Cross
Society, visit http://tinyurl.com/4eqb6ye.