Delaware governor web chats with students during trip to Asia

Students in Appoquinimink High School’s Japanese language class got to take their education a step further this morning during a video web chat with Governor Jack Markell.

Markell, who is currently in Japan as part of his week long business trip to Asia, talked to the students this morning via Google+ Hangout, to discuss his experience thus far and answer student questions.

Many of the students are currently enrolled in the level 5 Japanese language class and were well versed in the country’s culture and foreign affairs. Some had recently visited the country during a class trip.

Markell chatted about everything from the small earthquake that hit northern Japan earlier this week to the rebuilding efforts underway from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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Markell, a big supporter of foreign language immersion in schools, said the opportunity they’ve had to get a head start in the global market through their language class is valuable when it comes to getting ahead in the workforce.

“It’s so important for our young people to understand how small the world is and these days, what we want for our young people is that you go as far as your potential will possibly take you,” he said to the class. “And these days that requires an addition to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and doing well in your classes. It’s also an appreciation that we are all dependent upon each other because there is a reasonable chance that one day you may have a leg up in terms of getting a job.”

Markell explained to the class that he and state Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee have been meeting with businesses in Japan and making connections for new opportunities to export products from Delaware to Japan.

“We’re in an economy now where we have to take every opportunity that we can possibly find, to figure out a way to put more people to work in our state and make sure more customers around the world know about Delaware business,” said Markell.

Japanese language teacher Linnea Bradshaw said giving the students the opportunity to speak to Markell during his visit helps put the importance of their Japanese language class in perspective.

“It was really fun for them to use [the Japanese language] and to know that the Governor is there and they have something in common,” said Bradshaw. “Many of these students were in Miyagi, just as he was, and they really have something in common with him and that’s truly amazing for them to understand”

Umeji Nobuyuki, a native of Japan and current Japanese language teaching assistant at the high school added that the experience also taught students how technology has an important role in conducting global business.

“[Gov. Markell] said that it is important to know now the world is small, our world is getting closer so we don’t just do business domestically, we work globally and young people can see that,” said Nobuyuki.

Gov. Markell will continue business meetings in Korea tomorrow.

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