Shedding light on higher education and culture in Japan: NDI's Kyle Sturges receives Fulbright Award

Sturges Kyle Headshot

Study Abroad Assistant Director Kyle Sturges has a pretty impressive stamp collection inside his passport. He’s visited more than 10 countries and has conducted numerous site visits to review study abroad and exchange programs for Notre Dame International.

This June, Sturges will add a new country to his passport: Japan.

Sturges is one of 10 recipients in the country to receive the grant for the International Education Administrators (IEA) seminar. He will participate in the seminar with the goal to help connect U.S international education professionals with higher education systems abroad.

“The value of cultural competency can not be overstated,” Sturges said. 

“The Fulbright award provides a tangible and intentional exposure to this cultural exchange and provides an enrichment that’s only available by being on site and immersed in the culture,” he said.

The intensive two-week program will expose him to the societal, cultural, and higher education systems in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. He will be involved in briefings with faculty and administrations, government officials, and educational experts at public and private institutions. The trip also includes tours of historical and cultural sites.

The goal is to return to campus with an enhanced ability to serve and encourage prospective study-abroad students and international students.

Notre Dame’s presence in Japan

“Notre Dame has a long history in Japan with students studying abroad in Japan at Sophia University since the 1960s,” said Jonathan Noble, assistant provost for Asia with Notre Dame International.

Noble, who holds a Ph.D. in East Asian languages and literatures, manages the University’s academic engagement and strategic partnerships in Asia with universities, governments, corporations, and foundations.

“Notre Dame continues to develop partnerships in Japan to strengthen innovative educational opportunities in Japan for students, as well as promoting research cooperation for faculty,” Noble said.

Notre Dame’s partnerships with universities have developed since the 1960s to include faculty and student programs with four universities in Japan, including Keio University, Sophia University, Nanzan University, and Kyoto University.

Sturges facilitates five study abroad programs in Japan. These program include:

In the 2016/2017 academic year, nearly fifty students participated in programs through Notre Dame International, which includes Notre Dame students studying abroad and students from Japan studying on campus.

Many of these programs are taught and supported by faculty from Mendoza College of BusinessEast Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Liu Institute for Asian and Asian Studies.

It’s also common for students to engage with alumni while in Japan. The Notre Dame Club in Japan is one of Notre Dame’s exemplary international alumni clubs, offering scholarships to Notre Dame students and supporting faculty and students who visit Japan. The club is known to host welcome and farewell events for student groups, as well as maintaining a strong mentoring program.

A glimpse beyond the classroom

Sturges said the University’s presence in Japan is solid, but he hopes to increase student participation by sharing his own authentic and enriching experiences.

“I feel they can see beyond the classroom when I am able to share what it is like to grab coffee at the local café or maneuver the transportation system, “he said, adding, “These quotidian experiences help a student to imagine themselves living the experience themselves.”

The Fulbright Scholar Program is a part of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Students interested in learning more about the Japan study abroad program can contact Kyle Sturges at

Contact: Colleen Wilcox, content strategist at Notre Dame International, 574-631-2513,


Originally published by Colleen Wilcox at on March 29, 2018.