Undergrad studies in Japan suspended due to emergency
The Japanese consortium hosting three Brandeis undergraduates in Kyoto has decided to suspend its spring program due to safety concerns. The Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies, a Columbia University-administered program, is working to finalize the last day of classes and transportation arrangements for all visiting students, according to Brandeis Assistant Dean of Academic Services J. Scott Van Der Meid.
The Brandeis students are expected to be home within a week, he said, and Brandeis is working to assist with travel arrangements. Program officials are also attempting to develop a plan for students to work remotely so they can finish their studies and not lose credit.
Kyoto is about 500 miles south of Sendai and the region of northern Japan where nuclear power plants have been crippled and pose health risks in the aftermath of the historic earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
"After much debate and despite the fact that our students are quite safe at the moment, KCJS felt they could not guarantee safety moving forward and reluctantly decided to suspend the program," said Van Der Meid.
Three Brandeis International Business School students who had intended to study in Japan are currently evaluating options from outside the country and three undergraduates scheduled to head to Tokyo in April to begin a semester will not go.
"We appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Kyoto Consortium and the difficulty of their decision. They have been great partners," said Van Der Meid. "We are working hard on the Brandeis end to make all these transitions as smooth as possible for our students, realizing that there are many details and logistics to sort out. While we are extremely grateful that all our students are safe, during these awful days we remain concerned for the Japanese people and for all members of our community with family and other connections in Japan."