Dr. Roy Hanashiro
This academic year marks the 10th year of the Wyatt Exploration Program. Starting from Poland and recently Washington, D.C., this program has brought history majors and minors to various parts of the world. Many of the Wyatt Explorers have said that these trips were a life-changing experience, as they interacted with history and culture outside their own. Some have returned to places that they visited for further studies; for example, to Japan and Poland. Indeed, I hope that the Wyatt Explorers that I will travel with to Japan and Hawaii in May of 2019 will have similar experiences.
I have often told people that when I came here in 1989, the idea of international studies and study abroad hardly existed. The term internationalization was a mystery to many. Nevertheless, there were faculty memebers including those in the History Department that saw the need for internationalization. Now, we have significantly increased the number of international students, and there are several study abroad trips every year. The Wyatt Exploration Program holds a special place. It is not only a trip abroad, but it is a year-long program with affiliated courses, lectures, and films that is put together by an expert. Thus the Wyatt Explorers often visited historical sites that they had studied, which in itself is meaningful, but the Wyatt Explorers also have interacted with people from different countries. Through this interaction, some of the Wyatt Explorers have made friends and are still maintaining contact with them. This is building bridges, and I believe it is priceless.
This will be my third Wyatt Exploration. Never did I imagine that I would be bringing students to Japan for the third time. Although we will be visiting various places in Japan, this Wyatt Exploration is a bit different than the previous ones in that we will be spending more time on Okinawa to understand the diversity of Japan and the uniqueness of the Okinawa. The theme of Okinawa would be carried over to Hawaii not only to examine Japanese immigration but also to see how an immigrant group maintained its own unique culture in a foreign land.
It is my honor and pleasure to put together the 2018-19 Wyatt Exploration Program and to lead the study abroad tour.
Roy S. Hanashiro, Professor
University of Michigan-Flint