LWC Celebrates Japanese Coming of Age Ceremony

Columbia, KY -- Saturday, January 27, marked the Third Annual Coming of Age Ceremony for international students studying abroad at LWC. 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 Saturday at the Hodge Center for Discipleship.

Classmates, faculty and staff and area residents gathered 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. They also translated their speech to Japanese, to honor their family and friends from home. After the ceremony, 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."

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.

For more information about the Coming of Age Ceremony and the International Student Program at Lindsey Wilson College, contact Sabine Eastham at 270-384-8236 or via email at easthams@lindsey.edu. More photos from the event can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lindseywilsoncollege/albums/72157665115111858.