Founded in 1990, the Ibaraki International Association has served the foreign community in Ibaraki through a variety of services and events. While its location in Mito makes it somewhat remote to Tsukubaites, it is nevertheless important to know about. It serves as a support for various volunteer groups, including many in the Tsukuba area, and it serves as an information source, including working closely with the Tsukuba Information Center.
IIA also sponsors a free counseling service for foreign residents in several languages in addition to English (available every day). Free, confidential counsel in areas including law, medical treatment, education, welfare, and any other problems related to one's life in Japan. Translators for Bengali and Persian are available on Mondays from 9 to 4, with Spanish and Portuguese on Tuesdays, Chinese and Korean on Wednesdays, Thai and Tagalog (Philippines) on Thursdays, and Portuguese again on Fridays. The number to call for such services is 029-241-1611.
The Association also works to promote host family exchanges and to facilitate a wide variety of other forms of exchange. Language and culture classes for those in Mito are available (similar to the Tsukuba Cultural Foundation and Information Center), and an annual Japanese Speech Contest for Foreigners is likewise held. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5:45 pm and 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 1 am to 3 pm (when their "Saturday Salon" is held. You are encouraged to give them a call at the above number or fax them at 029-241-7611 for any information or advice you might need.
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