Japanese native, Ayane Hida, always had a dream of teaching in the United States. When the opportunity arose, Ayane seized it, and she was assigned to the Mazza Museum to work with Ben Sapp, Director of the Mazza as the JOI (Japan Outreach Initiative) Coordinator. Ayane couldn’t have been happier (or more well-received) than at the University of Findlay.
Spreading love and understanding through teaching
Since coming to Findlay and the University two years ago, Ayane has been bringing her culture and cheerful attitude to the Mazza Museum. As JOI Coordinator, she was tasked with integrating Japanese culture into the lives of U.S. children: a job she loves and a goal she continues to work towards.
“I go to schools, libraries, do activities with kids, go to conferences and camps at the Mazza and much more” Ayane explains. “I even reached out to and work with Japanese illustrators to get their work into the Mazza to bring in more Japanese culture.”
Learning and living
Ayane’s favorite work is teaching kids about her culture. “Some kids are very open and some aren’t,” she said. “I remember one time I was speaking in a 3rd grade classroom, and for an activity I had them make sushi. One boy didn’t even want to try it. He said he knew he would hate it. After convincing him to try it, he actually loved it! Sometimes, people hesitate to try something new, but knowing more about it changes them.”
Ayane has many licenses for teaching including those in physical education, history and Japanese. However, this month, Ayane will be moving back to her hometown of Kyoto.
“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next,” said Ayane. “ I know I love to teach, so I think I will continue doing something with education and international culture.”
Though Ayane will be missed, her permanent mark will be left at the Mazza Museum and the children that she taught here. Mazza Museum director, Ben Sapp, has expressed his hope to continue the programs even after she has left.