1. Brandi, Cheryl L. DNSc, RN
  2. Lockhart, Joan Such PhD, RN, CORLN, AOCN(R), FAAN
  3. Hara, Daisuke MA


Electronic mail (e-mail) exchange programs among students of different cultures are an efficient and economical way to enhance understanding of cultural diversity and global awareness. However, a program that meets the objectives of all participating institutions depends upon careful planning, communication, and collaboration among faculty throughout all project phases. The authors describe strategies used in overcoming barriers to planning, implementing, and evaluating a successful e-mail exchange program between baccalaureate Japanese and American nursing students.


The Internet is a popular medium for distance education in nursing, 1,2 and has been successfully used for international distance-learning programs. 3 However, published information on the use of electronic mail (e-mail) for international nursing student exchanges is scarce. Kirkpatrick, Brown, and Atkins 4 did discuss using international e-mail exchanges as one strategy to enhance nursing students' understanding of cultural diversity and global awareness, but they did not elaborate on the logistics of planning, implementing, or evaluating the e-mail exchanges.


International e-mail, or "keypal" student exchanges, have become a popular foreign-language teaching strategy. 5-7 The word "keypal" has unclear origins, but is used commonly among foreign-language educators (Thomas N. Robb, personal communication, March 6, 2002). Keypal exchanges provide an efficient way for students to meet and communicate outside of class; extend culture and language-learning time and place; are inexpensive; and allow for authentic interaction and teacher innovation. 5-7 However, setting up a keypal exchange is more complicated than simply recruiting another class to participate. 5,6


Our keypal exchange program occurred during fall 2001 between freshmen nursing students enrolled in an English Expression II (EEII) course at Aichi Medical University College of Nursing (AMUCON) in Japan and sophomore nursing students enrolled in a transcultural nursing and health course at Duquesne University School of Nursing (DUSON) in the United States. Suggestions are offered to faculty seeking international partners to pursue similar keypal exchange endeavors.