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Travelling Classrooms

To cap the end of 11 Study Abroad Programs that took place during the recent spring break, three days of student presentations by returnees were held at Kawauchi campus. The event also served as information sessions for other students thinking of going overseas.

The participants presented, in English, details of their time abroad, things they learnt in and out of the classroom and shared anecdotes of adjusting to life in a different culture.

"I chose to go to Canada because the program offered a homestay," said Yuki Kato, a 2nd year biochemical engineering student who went to Simon Fraser University. "It was a really good experience. People around me were very active and involved in many things. I realized that as a student, I should be more active too."

"Our university was in Jakarta, but we visited the countryside and it was very interesting, very different from Japan," said engineering student Naoki Ogata, who was at Universitas Indonesia. "There were many poor people, but there were also many very kind people. And the food was delicious."

SAP is one of the more popular programs among Tohoku University's Japanese students who want a small taste of studying in a foreign country. It offers participants the chance to improve their foreign language skills and ease into a different culture before perhaps committing to a longer program.

"For many students, it's their first time leaving Japan. So SAP is a chance to get some international exposure, develop a more global perspective on life, and learn to be more pro-active in trying new things," said Associate Professor Yuka Sakamoto, of the Global Learning Center.

"Canada is a very multicultural country and the Canadians we met were so open and friendly to everyone," said Mitsuho Tsuda, a 2nd year education student whose ambition is to be an English teacher. "I was able to try many new things and I made many new friends. We talk on Facebook now, in English."

While a majority of the programs focus on the learning of English as a second language, places like France, Taiwan and Indonesia offer other language options. Some programmes even feature business internships, and opportunities to take part in local community outreach. At Universitas Indonesia, for example, the students learnt about international business and engaged in an internship with PT. AEON INDONESIA in Jakarta.

"Many students think that the best way to learn English is to simply go to English-speaking countries," said Sakamoto. "However, if you look at the business world, many of Japan's partners are situated in Asia. Students who go on programs in Indonesia and Vietnam have the opportunity to visit Japanese companies and organizations, and expand their experiences in many other ways."

The Study Abroad Programs run from two to five weeks and are held twice a year during the end of semester breaks. The timing ensures that the participants' regular classes at Tohoku University are not disrupted. For more information, stop by the Student Exchange Division.

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Contact:

Student Exchange Division
Tel: +81 22 795-7820
Email: sab_query@grp.tohoku.ac.jp

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