World Campus International Staff

Hiro Nishimura

Hiro Nishimura – Chief Executive Officer

Hiro was born and raised in Arao, Kumamoto, located on Kyushu Island in western Japan. This seaside region is well-known for its especially warm and outgoing people. Hiro earned a degree in Education at the University of Kumamoto. He spent 20 years with the Up with People programs, serving in various capacities for the organization while developing his distinctive and influential management philosophy. As the Chief Operation Officer, Hiro has worked in both program implementation and company management throughout North America, Europe and Japan. One of his most impactful experiences was helping to implement part of the United Nation's Global Forum on Environmental Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hiro led the implementation of 9 international student programs in Japan. Well respected and well connected in a variety of Japanese networks, this was done in part through his successful collaboration with national, prefectural and city governments, major and local corporations and organizations. Hiro was the recipient of 4 company awards from Up with People, including the Presidents Award. After living in Denver, Colorado, USA for many years along with his Norwegian wife, Kristin, and their three children: Markus Yuki, Daniel Masami and Anna Mikako, they moved to Japan where WCI operates their international programs every year. Contact him at

Yoshimi Huffort

Yoshimi Hufford - Operations Manager

Yoshimi comes from Nara, a historically significant prefecture we will be visiting at the end of session 1. Her international experience began during her senior year of high school which she spent as an exchange student in Alaska. After finishing college, she followed her passion for international student programs by getting involved with the traveling group, Up with People.

She is passionate about working with young people, shown through her experiences in expressive arts such as children's theater. She thrives on meeting new people and exploring diverse cultures. Currently, she resides in Chiba prefecture with her American husband and two children.

She brings previous experience from her tenure with the World Campus-Japan program, where she served as a Program Manager/Admission Representative from its inception in 2007 until 2010. In 2024, she's actively involved in the program's preparation phase, focusing on logistics and collaborating with Hiro to develop counselor training. Additionally, she's coordinating the Arigato event alongside program counselors. She eagerly anticipates seeing countless smiling faces during the upcoming summer program! Reach her at

Ulrik Moss Grini

Ulrik Moss Grini - Program Counselor

Ulrik joined the World Campus - Japan as a participant in 2023’s program. After having an amazing and enriching experience, he chose to take the opportunity to join as a program counselor. His goal is to give participants an adventurous experience, by providing guidance to help them feel secure enough to step out of their comfort zone and thoroughly explore what the program has to offer.

His interest with the Japanese language began with the introduction of manga. Already having a big love for reading this opened a new world filled with interesting stories. Wanting to deepen his understanding of Japanese culture he elected to take a Japanese class at his university.

His experience during the program exceeded all expectations. Meeting amazing people from all over the world, exchanging and learning about each other’s life and culture, and traveling through some of the most amazing places in Japan. Ulrik especially loved the food, particularly Takoyaki and Sukiyaki.

Ulrik will be helping with the Arigato-Event rehearsals and other program operations. Contact him at

Espen Auseth Nielsen

Espen Auseth Nielsen – Program Counselor

Espen is from Norway. He has been with World Campus for the past 7 years and will be working as a counselor during the 2020 Japan program. He is 28 years old and he has received a PhD in mathematics at the University of Copenhagen.

He has been studying Japanese as a hobby since his high school days, when he became interested in Japanese stand-up comedy. Since then, his interest has expanded to Japanese culture, history and religion. His other hobbies are reading, watching movies and playing the game of Go. He also likes biking and exercising.

By participating in this program you can explore the most amazing places in Japan. However, what he has learned from World Campus, both from his own experience and from watching our participants over the years, is that traveling is all about the people you meet. By traveling with World Campus, he has met wonderful people from all over the world and made lasting friendships. He has also learned more about himself than he thought possible. He hopes that he can bring you out of your comfort zone so that you can do the same. Contact him at

Markus Yuki Nishimura

Markus Yuki Nishimura – Program Counselor

Markus Yuki Nishimura was born in the United States, grew up in Japan and currently living in Norway. As the eldest son of CEO and founder, Markus has been exposed to the World Campus - Japan program since its beginning in 2007. He first officially joined the program as a participant in 2016 and was amazed by how much even a Japanese native as himself could learn from it. He says the best part of the program was the direct exposure to Japanese culture and seeing how different the cultures can be between the cities. When asked to join the staff, his “YES!” could not have come any faster.

As a fluent speaker of both Japanese and English he will be responsible for translations and interpretation in various aspects of the program. Also, given his vocal & stage experience, he may also be of assistance during the Arigato-event planning and rehearsals. He looks forward to seeing you this summer. Contact him at

Jurriën Theunisz

Jurriën Theunisz - Program Counselor

Born and raised in the small, but culturally diverse country of the Netherlands, Jurriën Theunisz grew up with a great interest in different cultures. Having decided to enroll in the Japanese studies program at Leiden University in 2010, his involvement with Japan grew rapidly. This soon led him to World Campus, joining the program for the first time in 2011. The program allowed him to ″experience Japan in all its′ true facets and colors for the first time in a way a book or TV program never could″. The summers of the following years would also find him traveling back to help out at the World Campus program. After spending a year in Sendai working on his thesis research, Jurriën graduated from the Japanese studies program in 2015.

By now, fully accustomed to the Japanese culture and lifestyle his life took a turn as he started a degree in computer science at the TU Delft back in his home country while at the same time picking up a job as a software developer.

Leading a life interested in many different cultures, surely Japan is not the only reason for his love for the World Campus program. One of its′ key attractions is the diversity of the participants coming from dozens of different cultures. ″Enjoying common interests whilst sharing different backgrounds, is as beautiful as life gets. He is looking forward to seeing you all soon!″ Contact him at:

Jonathan Sæthre Ege

Jonathan Sæthre Ege - Program Counselor

Jonathan is a 28-year-old man who grew up in a small town named Egersund on the southwest coast in Norway. Now, he lives in central Norway in a city named Trondheim where he has been studying electronics for the past 3 years at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He did the last two years of his master's degree at NTNU and is now 1 year into a 4-year long Ph.D. in electronics. During the last year of his master’s, he studied Japanese at NTNU for one semester. During the Japanese classes he was introduced to World Campus, which lead to him attending the final session of the program the summer of 2023. After an amazing time with the program, he is now taking part in the program as a program counselor. Hoping that he will be able to participate in making the experience of everyone involved the best it can be.

Since the first time Jonathan worked as a student assistant at the University of Stavanger (UiS) where he took his bachelor’s degree, he has been passionate about teaching. He has since been working as an assistant in several courses, only increasing his passion for teaching. He is now working actively to become a professor at university level, hoping to teach in his own courses one day.

In his spare time, he likes to watch TV series, anime, and movies. Occasionally, he plays games. He also enjoys programming, video game development, 3D modelling, climbing, bouldering, and singing. He loves to go on long hikes, which is clear as he climbed Mt. Fuji the week before attending World Campus in 2023.

You can reach him at

Thomas Greve

Thomas Greve – Webmaster

Thomas lives in the Hanseatic and University city of Rostock, Germany. Growing up in the former German Democratic Republic, he understands the critical importance of connecting diverse people to break down unnecessary barriers. Thomas spends a lot of his time as a volunteer with non–profit organizations. As the former Coordinator of Local Organizing Committee in Rostock for an international program, he led a regional team which arranged host families and program contents for international groups in his hometown. Thomas loves to work with people. With a extensive background in technology, Thomas is World Campus International’s official webmaster and advisor to all computer troubleshooting. Please be in touch with Thomas for more information about World Campus – Japan at