ELyT School 2014 in Sendai

Since 2009, ELyT School is a summer school program held alternatively between France and Japan institutions: Tohoku University (Sendai), INSA Lyon and Ecole Centrale of Lyon (Lyon). It involves about 20 graduate school students (PhD candidate and Master-course student) who stay in the host country for two weeks to discover the foreign culture and the international projects established within the institutions' network. The sixth edition of ELyT School was held in Sendai from August 31st to September 10th 2014. As a participant of this summer school for the fourth time, and as a double-degree program student - from INSA Lyon and Tohoku University - I hope to be able to give you some insight about this year's ELyT School in Sendai.

ELyT Lab and ELyT School

Cooperation between INSA Lyon and Japan was initiated with a partnership with Tohoku University, Sendai, in 1995. Since then, liaison offices were created both at INSA and in Tohoku University and a double-diploma program was signed in 2006. One of the most important steps towards a sustainable partnership was the creation of an international associated laboratory between the two institutions and Ecole Centrale of Lyon, which was acknowledged by CNRS, French National Centre for Scientific Research, in 2008. This laboratory was named ELyT Lab (Engineering and science LYon-Tohoku LABoratory).

In order to enhance student mobility from both countries, a summer school was established. The aim of this program is to help students discover the other country's environment as well as visiting ELyT Lab laboratories. The first edition took place in September 2009: twenty students from Japan came to Lyon for two weeks. The second edition was held in Sendai, in October 2010, where twenty students from Lyon were able to go to Japan. Since then, alternatively held one year in France and the next year in Japan, the program continued until the sixth edition of this year in Sendai. The number of institutions involved also increased with the ongoing program with Kobe University (Japan), Tokai University (Japan), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), University of Saarland-Fraunhofer (Germany), KTH (Sweden) and ENISE (France). My first participation in ELyT School was in 2011 in Lyon (third ELyT School) so I could experience twice the summer school in France (2011 and 2013) and twice in Japan (2012 and 2014).

This year's program

ELyT School is a program that involves both scientific and social content. During the stay, the students attend lectures given by eminent professors, they visit laboratories that are part of ELyT Lab's international collaboration and they work in groups to discuss about current scientific issues. They also have to present their current studies as part of graduate schools. This year's schedule comprises eight lectures from various fields ranging from electrical science to neurosciences. As for the group project, the students were divided into four groups with subjects such as renewable energy, nuclear waste, new energies for transportation and safety and energy production. We had five time slots in the schedule to work as a group and to exchange their opinions so to give a presentation of 30 minutes about a specific issue concerning these subjects.

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Professor Noriko Osumi's lecture about neuroscience. Group project presentation on renewable energy issue.

As part of the scientific program, thanks to Tohoku Electric Power Company, the students had the opportunity to observe and study on the most advanced-type natural gas-burning power generator in Tohoku region. We also visited a tsunami-devastated area, Onagawa city, to see with our own eyes the consequences of the events from 2011. We observed a minute of silence for the victims from the tsunami.

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Visit to Tohoku Electric Power Company
thermal power plant.

Visit to Onagawa city

Besides the scientific content of the program, some cultural activities were organized for the students to experience Japanese culture. A tea ceremony was held for us to enjoy Japanese famous green tea in a traditional Japanese house. We also had a country tour to visit Tohoku's first World Heritage: Hirai-Izumi and its famous Golden Hall (Konjiki-do) as well as the Jodo Temple at Motsuji Temple. The Japanese host students also held several events for the foreign students to enjoy onsen or Japanese-style get-together parties at izakayas. One free day allowed the students to travel around Sendai or further, as some of them went to Tokyo to visit Japan's famous capital.

Experiencing tea ceremony

ELyT School's impressions

As always, ELyT School is a great experience to take part in, either in Japan or in France. It is my fourth time as a participant and it is still a pleasure to meet new people and to attend interesting conferences given by great professors. Not only did we meet French and Japanese students, but also Chinese and German students during this ELyT School. I noticed and experience the birth of great friendships between the participants through group projects and socio-cultural events. I enjoyed every event and I was really touched by the visit of Onagawa city. I highly recommend to any students either from Tohoku University or the other institutions to take part in such a summer school. It allows you to discover to the host country way of living and to learn about international projects going on between among the several institutions.

As for me, ELyT School was a determining experience, as it helped me decide on what I wanted to do after graduating from INSA Lyon. Thanks to ELyT School, I had the chance to meet Professor Noriko Osumi who is now one of my supervisors for my double-degree PhD program. I am now part of ELyT Lab and I am fully experiencing the international cooperation going on between two laboratories separated by almost 10000 km. This year's ELyT School was also especially different for me, as I was part of the host students (Tohoku University students) even though I am originally from France. I hoped I was able to share my own experience of studying in Japan to the other participants and to motivate them to do their own study abroad, and if so, in Japan.

This was my report from the great experience that is ELyT School. I hope this summer school will be sustained for a long time from now and that it will give the opportunity to some students to decide to study abroad either for an exchange or a double-degree program between France and Japan, and also China, Germany and Sweden in the years to come.

Amanda LO VAN
2nd year PhD student from INSA Lyon and Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

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