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Seijin no Hi held at Lindsey Wilson College

Traditional coming of age ceremony held at Columbia City Hall, where Columbia Mayor Curtis Hall told 20 year old LWC students from Japan, 'You have come of age.'.
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Today, WEDNESDAY with CM - 1 Feb 2017

By Travis Smith
LWC Assistant Director of Public Relations and Media Coordinator

For the second year in a row, Lindsey Wilson College and the city of Columbia held a coming of age ceremony for international students studying abroad at LWC on Friday, January 27. Traditionally, the Coming of Age ceremony -- also known as Seijin no Hi -- is held throughout city halls in Japan every January. The ceremony, which dates to the 8th century, celebrates when a person in Japan reaches legal adulthood, which is the age of 20. Four LWC students from Japan were recognized during the ceremony Friday at Columbia City Hall.

More than 40 LWC classmates, faculty and staff and area residents gathered in a city hall meeting room as Mayor of Columbia Curtis Hardwick told the four Japanese students about the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood, just as a Japanese mayor would do.

"You have become an adult," Hardwick said. "Your future may not be totally clear to you yet, but dream big dreams and be hopeful. By having made the decision to come to the U.S. and study at Lindsey Wilson College, you are playing at active part in fulfilling your dreams and hopes. "

The four students being recognized then spoke, expressing their gratitude to those who honored them. Following the ceremony at City Hall, the students celebrated at a reception that featured traditional Japanese dishes, held at LWC's Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center. At the reception, the students were surprised with video messages recorded by their families in Japan.

Sabine Eastham, Director of the International Student Program, helped plan and organize the event again this year. Eastham says that sharing rich experiences is one of the goals of LWC international program.

"The presence (of international students) broadens cultural awareness," Eastham said. "Exchange students are only here one year, so we want to give everyone as many experiences as possible."

To enrich the campus' culture, LWC houses international students in residence halls with American students, and international students are also active in campus life. LWC has more than 100 international students from 39 different countries enrolled this spring.

In addition to holding events such as the Coming of Age Day ceremony, Eastham said LWC's International Student Program also looks for way to give back to Columbia-Adair County. The program holds several events during International Education Week that are open to the public, and LWC international students visit Adair County schools throughout the year.

During their time in Columbia-Adair County, LWC's international students are paired with area families, who introduce them to Southcentral Kentucky culture and "open their hearts and homes to welcome the students," Eastham said.

This story was posted on 2017-01-31 08:57:43
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Poster for the Coming of Age Ceremony

2017-01-31 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Lindsey Wilson College. A coming of age poster was displayed in the Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center on January 27 signifying the event that took place at Columbia City Hall and ended with a dinner reception in the Cranmer Dining Center.
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Mayor Hardwick celebrates wtih LWC students

2017-01-31 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Mariah Stearns.
Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick joined four LWC students from Japan to celebrate their Coming of Age ceremony Jan. 27 at Columbia City Hall. From left: Ryuhei Otsuka, Tomoki Takeda, Curtis Hardwick, Miho Shiraki and Makoto Takano.

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Student Makota Takano reacts to a video message from home

2017-01-31 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Mariah Stearns.
Makota Takano (center) reacts to a video message sent from her family in Japan during dinner in the Roberta D. Cranmer Dining and Conference Center immediately following the Coming of Age Ceremony held at Columbia City Hall. Takano was one of four students who were recognized during the ceremony organized by Lindsey Wilson College and officials of the city of Columbia.

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