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11 August 2009 | PR 09/105

University staff learn about Japan as part of 2012 preparations

University staff prepare for 2012 Olympics

University staff prepare for 2012 Olympics

Loughborough University employees have been getting to grips with Japanese language and culture as part of an initiative to make their overseas guests feel at home in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

More than 60 staff from the University’s Sports Development Centre and catering and accommodation arm imago @ Loughborough Ltd have undergone initial training that helps them to understand the cultural differences and learn some basic Japanese in readiness for the arrival of the first group of athletes this month. A further 80 employees are set to follow the course in September.

As well as being taught greetings, numbers and some basic phrases, staff learned about Japan’s geography and culture and found out how differences in pronunciation could lead to confusion.

The sessions follow on from a day-long Welcome International course which has been added to imago’s staff training plan to further enhance its customer service to guests from Japan and other international countries. Each year, imago proudly welcome’s over 10,000 international visitors to Loughborough University and its onsite hotel and conference centres, Burleigh Court and Holywell Park.

imago training and development manager Angela Lannucci has overseen the introduction of the session and underlines its value to improving customer service, saying: 

“As we prepare to welcome the first wave of elite athletes this August, delivering an exceptional customer experience is at the forefront of our minds. After all, the Japanese are renowned for their meticulous standards and unfaltering politeness.

“By learning some key Japanese words and phrases, as well as an understanding of their customs and culture, we want to ensure the warmest of welcomes is extended to our guests.  We are delighted that team Japan have chosen to come to Loughborough University and our staff our looking forward to delivering an exceptional experience throughout their stay”.  

The University is poised to welcome hundreds of Japanese athletes and support staff onto campus over the next three years as momentum builds to the London Olympics.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Loughborough and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), teams will be using the University as a base for European competition over the next three years as well as for their final preparation in the weeks immediately prior to the 2012 Games.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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