One of the students flashes a peace sign with resident Theresa Diamond.

On Nov. 28, 2017, Life Care Center of Pensacola, Florida, hosted approximately 20 Japanese social work students, along with teachers and interpreters.


The visit was part of the University of West Florida’s partnership with Saitama College of Welfare in Omiya City, Japan.


“During their stay here, we arrange for the students and escorts to visit local health care facilities to become acquainted with best practices for various types of health care here in the United States,” said Kathy Jones, program manager for the Japan Center at UWF.


Students tried out some of the therapy equipment, such as the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill® and the SaeboReJoyce, which allows stroke survivors and other neurological patients to begin performing task-oriented grasp-and-release activities.


“They absolutely loved the AlterG and in fact took brochures home to show their family,” said Jennifer Lindley, executive director.


The students also met with the Resident Council to talk about health care and do an origami craft with the residents.


“The residents were asking questions, and the students were trying to translate with their phones,” said Lindley. “One of the residents tried to teach a student how to say ‘y’all.’ It didn’t translate! What was so interesting was that none of the students spoke English, and none of the residents spoke Japanese. However, they were able to communicate through sign language, facial expressions and art.”


Resident Janice Montgomery shared that what she found most interesting was discussing the college education the students receive in Japan – they need only a three-year degree to practice their discipline but go to college year-round.


“Ms. Creola Wiggins is still stuck on the fact that they don’t serve iced sweet tea,” said Lindley.


Associates asked to be on the list for the next cultural exchange.

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