Forty-six CUNY Students Invited by Japan to Enjoy an All-Expense Paid Trip to its Country






Long Island City, NY—May 20,  2013—In appreciation of its strong relationship with LaGuardia Community College, the Consulate General of Japan in New York has invited 46 CUNY students to take part in an all-expense paid 10-day study tour of Japan in May.


“Kakehashi – Bridge for Tomorrow” the Youth Exchange Program with North America will take the students to Tokyo and Kyoto and several universities.  The rare program, which will begin May 20, is offered as a succeeding version of the student exchange project implemented by the Japanese government during 2007 to 2011.


 “The purpose of the program is to encourage deeper mutual understanding between the youth of Japan and the United States by providing first-hand cultural experiences,” said Toshihiro Kaneko, Consul at  the Consulate General of Japan in New York, who added that a total of 4,600 high school and college students will join the exchange program.  “The program will also enable future leaders of Japan-US exchanges to form networks and help young people develop wider perspectives to encourage active roles at the global level in the future.”


Eight LaGuardia students will be sharing the experience with students from Baruch College, John Jay, City College, Hunter College, Medgar Evers, College of Staten Island, Lehman College and Queens College. LaGuardia will serve as the CUNY host and three LaGuardia and one CSI faculty and administrators have volunteered to chaperone.


CUNY is one of three U.S. colleges to be invited during May 20 to May 30.  The two other participating U.S. colleges are George Mason University in Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


“Through the generosity of the Japanese government, our students are being given the privilege of observing first hand this country’s fascinating culture,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.  “This amazing trip provides an opportunity for the students to learn about Japan, to become more well-rounded human beings and to become global ambassadors.”


During the whirlwind tour, dubbed “Cool Japan,” the students will be immersed in the Japanese culture, sampling the country’s fine cuisine, visiting ancient temples and modern structures and learning about its art and traditional and pop culture.


“Through this fantastic study tour, Japan is providing CUNY students with the rare opportunity to visit its country and to learn about its rich culture and history,” said Anthony Burgos, a LaGuardia liberal arts major, who studied Japanese for one semester and is interested in Japan’s traditions and history.  “It is a chance of a lifetime.”


Each of the CUNY students is joining the tour with a different range of experiences, from having studied several semesters of Japanese to majoring in Asian-American studies, to simply harboring a fascination for everything Japanese–the country’s rich, elegant culture, politics, cuisine, art and pop culture including anime and video games.


Francesca Messina, a nursing major at the College of Staten Island, said she has “zero Japanese skills,” but is interested in Japanese anime, art, architecture, cultural and herbal remedies.


Joseph Palumbo, a history major at College of Staten Island, has studied Japanese for several semesters and hopes to one day teach Japanese history at a Japanese university.  “I am interested in gaining more exposure to the Japanese language, its culture and the country over all before attending graduate school,” he said. 


Kathleen Johnson, a liberal arts major at LaGuardia, said it would be an honor to be received at someone’s home.  “It is a perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture and meet the Japanese people in a deep and rich way,” she said.


For more information on the program, please visit


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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.