International Program Updates

International Program Updates

Hiroshima Students Research Project

Four students in the 11th grade visited Mid-Pacific from Hiroshima Prefectural Junior/Senior High School on October 6. Hiroshima Prefectural Junior/Senior High School is one of 11 Super Global High Schools in Japan for 2016-17, selected by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to foster global leaders through internationalization. High school students in the program are required to conduct fieldwork both domestically and internationally on a research project. They interviewed Vice President of External Affairs Mr. Scott Siegfried, asking questions for their research project on U.S. education.


Shunya: My research topic is on the school environment and how it affects our learning. How does the way of teaching affect student's way of thinking?

Mr. Siegfried: Each school has its own philosophy of learning or approach to teaching, and students think and respond to the type of teaching differently. At Mid-Pacific, we focus on student-centered learning because we want our students to be prepared and have these skills by the time they graduate.

  • Maintain a positive mindset and belief in the value of persistence in learning
  • Self-assess and monitor their own progress and understanding, and communicate the quality of their learning to others, formally and informally
  • Build social-emotional awareness and empathy in an increasingly interconnected world
  • Nurture, sustain, and steward the environment and community in which they live
  • Apply creativity and imagination to problem solving
  • Collaborate with and positively impact global peers
  • Communicate effectively using multiple mediums -- spoken, written, artistic, and digital
  • Embrace appropriate risks and opportunities to help solve novel problems
  • Collect and analyze data from disparate disciplines in order to apply new solutions

Ryo: I am focusing my research on improving education in Japan. How can we make students more interested in studying?

Mr. Siegfried: We want students to take ownership of their learning instead of teachers lecturing and feeding them information. Students learn from their peers and teachers by getting feedback and presenting their own learning.

Ryo: In Japan, people tell us to always work together and stay together to create unison. How do you think independence affects student thinking?

Mr. Siegfried: Students need to be given independence to learn and grow on their own. The only way to learn is from taking risks and not being afraid to fail. Our students are each given iPads from elementary school and learn to become responsible thinkers.

Shunya: That's impressive. In Japan, we are not allowed to have iPads until high school. What is the difference between letting elementary vs. high school students use iPads?

Mr. Siegfried: The iPad is a learning tool and doesn't replace learning in the classroom. It's used to get and find information faster and allows students in different grade levels to present their learning in different ways, depending on their capabilities.


Shoko: I want to know more about the types of research projects students do in school.

Mr. Siegfried: Projects should be authentic, relevant, and meaningful for students so that they develop a deeper understanding of the work. Our teachers allow students to pursue projects of their interest on their own and connect it to learning. For example, in the Mid-Pacific eXploratory program (MPX) class, each student pursued different themes - food, travel, nature, environment - all related to the lesson of sustainability. One project focused on the question of how can we create sustainable transportation in Hawaii, and gathering opinions and feedback from those who work in the field led to them build an electronic bike.

Shoko: Wow. Do you think multimedia is important?

Mr. Siegfried: Yes, the use of multiple mediums is important to show learning in multiple ways. As a matter of fact, communicating effectively using multiple mediums is one of the skills we list in our Mid-Pacific Learner Profile (see above).


Miku: My research focuses on stress levels at school. Do the students feel stressed? If so, how do students relieve stress here? In Japan, we have a lot of stress because our parents have high hopes for us and we want to exceed their expectations.

Mr. Siegfried: I think we ask a lot of our students so it's always important to try to balance need with content in terms of how much material you teach. We look at different ways of assessment and evaluation for the students.

Miku: How do the teachers relieve their stress here?

Mr. Siegfried: Today, there are no students on campus because it is our professional development day for teachers to get training and we have an un-conference where the faculty are sharing their own research with each other.

Miku: I see, that's a great way for the teachers to learn from each other too.

All: Thank you. We learned a lot today and excited to present what we learned with our peers tonight.

Hiroshima HS Students

From left: Ms. Toriumi, HCC student, Miku, Shoko, Ryo, Shunya, Mr. Siegfried

2nd Workshop with the "King of Lanterns"

He Weifu, also known as the "King of Lantern" and a "National Living Treasure" in China for his artisan craft, visited Mid-Pacific for the second time to teach a lantern-making workshop for Mandarin and ELD students on September 27th. Middle and high school students taking Mandarin or English Language Development classes learned how to make a panda lantern with wire, colored paper, scissors, glue, and lights.

With the panda's face taking two hours, students realized that cutting paper and gluing the paper to the wire was not as easy as it looked. Students exclaimed, "I can't imagine how long the rooster and dragon took Mr. Weifu to make!" "If only I was artistic and patient like Mr. Weifu, this would be much easier". The students happily took home their finished lantern, which each showed the characteristic and personality of its creator.

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Master Lanter Maker He Weifu

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Panda lanterns

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Mandarin & ELD students learning how to make lanterns

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Previous workshop with Mr. He Weifu:

International Alum Speaker Series: Nijitoshi Nakajima '11

More than twenty students gathered to Skype with Nijitoshi (Brian) Nakajima, 2011 Mid-Pacific alum from Kyoto, Japan. As a Mid-Pacific student, he played on the varsity volleyball and basketball team, and performed hula in Pupukahi. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Business Administration with a degree in International Marketing. Nijitoshi currently works in marketing at an artificial intelligence software company in Los Angeles.

It was a special treat for teachers and students to be able to communicate with Nijitoshi in real time and ask him questions such as "What advice do you have to get into the artificial intelligence field?" and "What is the most important lesson you learned in high school?". In return, Nijitoshi had a question for the students, "Why did you come to Mid-Pacific?". Some students shared that they came for a better education in English to go to a U.S. college, while others mentioned family reasons.

Nijitoshi highlighted the importance of defining a goal beyond Mid-Pacific, so that they could find the purpose of studying English and work towards that goal everyday. He also urged students to not be afraid to fail and try different things until they find their true passion.

For those students still struggling to discover their passion, it was eye-opening to hear an alum share about his experience changing his major from biology to marketing in college and pursuing a career that his parents did not expect. "Listening to Mr. Nakajima, it made me realize that I should pick colleges for what I want to study for myself, not just because my parents want me to go to that college," shared student Hina Yoshida '20.


Skyping with Nijitoshi Nakajima '11

Visitors from Sakai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

Tomoyo Waki and Narumi Kaneda from Sakai Town in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan visited Mid-Pacific Institute on August 23rd as part of an educational program organized by the Junior Chamber International in Sakai Town. Sakai Town is known for its strong connections with Honolulu, which includes sponsorship of fireworks show and educational programming with Hawaii.

The girls met with current Mid-Pacific students from Japan, Waka Marubayashi and Riko Tsuchihashi to learn more about studying abroad in the U.S. They were surprised to learn about the different school rules and policies from those in Japan, and compared the graduation requirements, Dress code, homework, and teaching styles in each country.

For 10th grader Waka, it gave her a moment to reflect on her own experience at Mid-Pacific. She wrote, "By sharing stories with the girls who are now studying English and looking forward to studying abroad in the future, it made me rethink what I have accomplished and learned at Mid-Pacific. It also made me think that learning in this environment is a very precious experience so I have to use this environment to improve myself more."

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Mid-Pacific students (on left) and Sakai Town visiting students (on right)

3rd International Student Scavenger Hunt

In collaboration with the school library, the ELD department ran its first library scavenger hunt for the new ELD students to help them get accustomed to the library system in the U.S on August 10th. The ELD students enjoyed learning hands-on where and how to find books, magazines, and digital media for class.

After the library scavenger hunt, students were divided into five groups for a campus scavenger hunt with local student Global Ambassadors. Team leaders helped guide the new students to different locations on campus, and the teams could be seen running around campus, working together helping them complete tasks such as "Take a team selfie in front of a building that starts with K" or "Take a photo of the team spelling out the letter M next to the M on the lawn".

From learning about their new school to making new local friends, it was amazing to see how much the international students accomplished in one day. The memories and bonds they created is only a start and will hopefully continue to develop throughout the school year.

View photos here:


Stephanie Toriumi International Student Coordinator