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Students from Misawa City and Naju City attend WVC


Soojin Na and Saki Harada 
Soojin Na (left), from Naju City, South Korea, and Saki Harada (right),
from Misawa City, Japan, began attending WVC in April.


Saki Harada and Soojin Na began their first day as Wenatchee Valley College students on April 1, when spring-quarter classes began. Harada is WVC's first international student from Misawa City, Wenatchee's sister city in Japan, while Na is from Naju City, Wenatchee's sister city in South Korea.

Harada, 18, recently graduated from Aomori Prefectural Misawa High School. When she visited Wenatchee as a student ambassador in 2011, she and the other student ambassadors were invited by Miko Stephens, WVC International Student Coordinator, to tour the college. After Misawa City featured the program in their community newsletter last spring, Harada inquired at the city office about applying to WVC. Since then, she studied for the TOEFL, the English proficiency test, and took private lessons at an English conversation school.

She will now be able to assist Stephens in giving tours of the Wenatchee campus for the Misawa City delegation that will arrive in early May for the Apple Blossom Festival.

Na first visited Wenatchee over 10 years ago with Naju City's former mayor. She returned two years ago at the current mayor's request, chaperoning the 20 junior high and high school students who participated in the college's first Naju City summer ESL program. This spring, she returned to the college with the goal to improve her English skills.

Both Harada and Na are taking courses in basic English, academic English and composition. Harada also lives in the WVC residence hall. The family of her residence hall roommate is serving as her host family while she attends WVC. Na is currently living with a host family.

Harada plans to attend WVC for three years. "I would like to transfer to a four-year university after graduating from WVC and then get a job in which I can use English in the future," she said.

Na will return to her work in Naju City at the end of May. She serves as an agriculture education director in a program that provides an education center in Naju City Hall for farmers and growers in and around Naju City. She explained that improving her English-speaking abilities will help in her work at the city hall, an international hub.

The WVC International Program began in 2006. Since then, 40 students have participated in the program. This spring, there are 10 international students, including five from Japan, and one each from Taiwan, Korea, Afghanistan, China and England.

Soojin Na, Saki Harada and Vania Winters
Soojin Na and Saki Harada in class with instructor Vania Winters.

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