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Artistic Gesture Supports International Understanding

Cultures, traditions and even the creation of good luck charms help to bridge understanding between international and American students.

Creighton University’s Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) students spent time this semester visiting Beveridge Magnet School. The visits helped both groups better understand each other’s cultures and gave the international students opportunities to practice English.

During one visit, IELI student Kota Kumagai, Yamagapa, Japan, heard that one of the relatives of a middle school student had cancer. He wanted to do something to let the relative know he was thinking about her and conveying well wishes in her healthcare struggle. He did something that is very familiar in the Japanese culture—he made a thousand origami cranes. 

The origami paper cranes creation is held together by strings and is believed to give the owner eternal good luck. In Japan, the crane is a mystical or holy creature said to live for a thousand years; thus, 1,000 cranes are made for the recipient.