Lower Columbia College’s may soon have a sister college in Japan and is close to an agreement to educate up to 30 students from China a year.

The twin developments, announced Thursday by LCC President Chris Bailey, are part of the college’s effort to expand its international program, bolster its enrollment and finances and expose students to global culture and ideas.

“We really are an international city,” Bailey said during a state of local education lunch sponsored by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce.

LCC officials two weeks ago met with administrators from Jumonji University, a private women’s college near Tokyo. Officials from Longview’s Japanese sister city, Wako, arranged the meeting.

LCC is still waiting for official confirmation from Jumonji University, but the college “fully anticipates” the schools will become sister colleges, said LCC International Program Director Margit Brumbaugh.

“We have a lot of irons in the fire, and there’s a lot of excitement around this initiative,” Brumbaugh said.

Bailey he said LCC and Jumonji are discussing what the sister college relationship would involve and how many Jumonji students it might bring to LCC.

“We’re still in the very formative stage of that discussion,” Bailey said.

Japan’s Atomi University also plans to send students to LCC this summer for four- to eight-week-long educational programs in subjects like English, science and math as well as cultural activities and tours.

“It could lead to students attending here, that’s our hope,” Bailey said of the Atomi program.

In mid-April, LCC plans to sign a five-year agreement with Chang Zhou Technical Institute of Tourism and Commerce that would bring send 10 and 30 students from Shanghai, China to LCC each year. The students would work toward two-year degrees.

In a separate initiative, LCC may enter into an agreement with Xia Men, a university south of Shanghai to host between 15 and 30 students. Those students would study at LCC for two years and then obtain four-year degrees from universities in the United States, Bailey said.

Justin Pittman covers Longview and Kelso school districts, Lower Columbia College and Columbia County (Oregon) for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-2523 or jpittman@tdn.com

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