After closing campus in early March, students at TU Japan returned to class.
Temple’s Japan Campus has reopened and classes resumed Monday, April 4, but many students have evacuated the campus and plan to finish the semester through distance learning or by coming to Main Campus.
After the earthquake, some students chose to leave Japan, but there were others who remained on campus while TU Japan facilities remained open. But when the United States State Department issued a travel warning on March 17, Temple officials suspended the Japan study abroad program.
“Temple was all over the place and extremely unorganized,” junior Asian studies major Kim O’Malley said in an email.
O’Malley is now studying at Main Campus after studying abroad at TU Japan.
“I had to tell [university officials] multiple times where I was, and that ‘Yes, I am still in Japan,” O’Malley said. “I received no updates until the final decision to cancel the semester was declared.”
After the travel warning, American students were urged to leave TU Japan by university officials, and offered a sponsored charter flight to Hong Kong on March 20. Approximately 120 American students still remain in Japan, and approximately 190 have left the campus.
“[Main Campus] is my home campus anyway,” said Trisha Swed, a junior strategic communication major. “So while I was abroad I still kept my apartment, so, for me, moving back wasn’t as hectic.”
However, many TU Japan students will not return to Main Campus.
Within TU Japan’s undergraduate program, approximately 50 percent of the students are Japanese, and the remaining students are international students who come from more than 60 countries around the world. It also consists of study-abroad students from programs at Main Campus and the Beasley School of Law, both consisting of U.S. students from Temple and other universities.
“For any students who left Japan, regardless of when they left Japan and regardless of whether they are TUJ admit students or study-abroad students, Temple will work with those students to help them finish their Spring semester,” said Hillel Hoffman, the assistant director of news communications.
All TU Japan students, including Japanese students, can receive free housing at Main Campus to complete their semester, according to a statement from President Ann Weaver Hart on March 30. TU Japan students who have left Japan will finish the remainder of their semester through online communication with professors or with independent study.
According to records last week, approximately 20 students have decided to take the offer and live wherever there is housing available at Main Campus, Hoffman said. Approximately half of the students are Main Campus students from the study abroad program, and the remaining are students from other universities from the U.S., he added.
“I have a lot of [study abroad] friends who ended up moving onto [Main Campus] from different universities,” Swed said. “It’s slightly difficult for them. However, Temple is being extremely accommodating, and they’re actually extremely efficient about getting students on campus, who need to be on campus and starting their distance learning.”
Final exams for TU Japan students are scheduled for April 26-27, and the campus expects most students to be able to finish the semester. Administrators said faculty may offer incomplete grades to students who may be unable to finish a course, however, tuition reimbursement will not be offered.
“At this time, I have no idea what they are planning to do about my classes, credits and all the money I invested in Japan,” O’Malley said. “Right now, I’m just waiting to find out how screwed I am and wishing I was still in Japan.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.