Several students standing with handmade Japanese-style artwork


UMF introduces Japanese into its curriculum via ALLEX Fellows program.

Adults standing for photo in front of signs

June 2019

 UMF’s Associate Dean is named a Fulbright Scholar so they can find a new Japan partner. While in Japan visiting Kansai University (Osaka), they learned about COIL and is introduced to Akita International University (AIU).

Students writing on colored paper in classroom.

November 2019

AIU and UMF sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

Logo for the U.S. Department of Education

March 2020

 UMF applies for a UISFL grant from the U.S. Department of Education that focuses on incorporating COIL into course curriculums.

UMF and DePaul University logos

Fall 2020

UMF receives UISFL grant to continue Global Experiences during COVID-19 lockdown. UMF faculty and staff receive COIL training through DePaul University, a leader in COIL.

Fall 2021

Profs. Minor and Chen pilot UMF’s first Virtual Global Experience (VGE) in Japan with a focus on community forests. UMF students participate in forest bathing in the local Flint Woods.

UMF begins in-house training of UMF faculty and their international partners by Instructional Designer Mary Dindorf, including Psychology Professor Natasha Lekes and her colleague at Akita International University, Dr. Pamela Taylor.

Profs. Lekes and Taylor pilot their VGE that focuses on the role of technology and cultural differences surrounding death and dying in US/Maine and Japan.

Unicollaboration logo with background of students on Zoom call

Spring 2021

UMF pilots VGE with international partners in Peru, France and Hong Kong, and additional UMF faculty and their international partners are trained through UNICollaboration, including Geography Professor Jesse Minor and his colleague at University of the Ryukyus (Japan) Dr. Bixia Chen.

Students completing crafts in classroom


UMF hosts its first exchange students from AIU.

Fall 2022

Profs. Brad Dearden and Bixia Chen continued UMF’s collaboration with Ryukyu University through a new VGE in Prof. Dearden’s Asia: Peoples and Environments course. UMF students from across campus participated in a celebration of Japanese festivals.

Two people eating in a restaurant

Spring 2023

 Following up on the Associate Dean’s visit to AIU in October 2022, she and Prof. Sarah Maline work with AIU colleague Prof. Naoko Araki to develop a Global Seminar to Japan for incoming students in Fall 2023.

Students playing with a beach ball in classroom

August 2023

Prof. Maline led a field experience to Japan for 10 First-Year Fusion students, including a visit to AIU. The Fusion course is part of UMF’s Research Learning Experiences [include link for RLEs here] in which students are encouraged to shed their passive role as learners and assume a more active role in their research, as well as be encouraged to explore future career paths.

Fall 2023

In addition to the FYF course on the Global Seminar on “Japan Through Time & Space,” UMF hosted an ALLEX Japanese Language & Culture fellow on campus while Profs. Lekes and Taylor continued their VGE collaboration.

Students interacting in classroom.

Spring 2024

Prof. Araki and her husband Prof. Florent Domenach, who chairs AIU’s Global Connectivity Program, have been selected as Libra Scholars in Spring 2024. During their residency, UMF and AIU will explore future collaborations through VGE and Global Seminars.

For more information about Global and Experiential Education, please contact:

Office of Experiential & Global Education
University of Maine at Farmington
106 Fusion Space
117 South Street
Farmington, Maine 04938