The Tohoku University Japanese Programme (TUJP) continues to be a great way to have a cool summer.
Throughout July and August, some 40 TUJP students attended two weeks of intensive language classes, as well as workshops on Japanese history, law and the economy.
"I'd never been to Asia before so I've really enjoyed all the new experiences," said Tracy /Hoxobes from the University of Johannesburg. "I'm studying development studies with a major in economics, so learning about another country and comparing the different policies and systems is really perfect."
The students also tried their hand at traditional arts such as calligraphy, origami and flower arrangement. "I like japan as a whole because I'm interested in the culture. So one of the fun things about this programme is being able to experience the traditional culture first hand," said Syracuse University student Priscilla Yoon Kang.
Away from the classroom, TUJP encourages interaction with Japanese students on campus and members of the local community through joint activities and outreach. This year, those activities included a tour around Mount Zao, a dip in a natural hot spring, and a visit to Matsushima, the cluster of islands famous for having one of the most iconic views of Japan.
Each group also did a homestay at Minamisanriku - a coastal town where the students had a chance to go out on a boat with local fishermen - or Kamimachi, an agricultural community. This gave students the chance to practice speaking Japanese in everyday situations.
"I really liked being matched with my Japanese peer mentors and Japanese classmates because I got to practice the language and using it in real life situations is so satisfying," said Kang. "I'm also learning so many nuances of the Japanese language, just from talking to people here."
Throughout the fortnight, the TUJP participants worked on a group project alongside Tohoku University students.
One group toured the Kirin Brewery factory and learnt more about the unique nature of Japanese businesses. They met with management and staff, and shared suggestions and ideas to improve the brewery's appeal to tourists and foreigners.
The other group participated in Super Global Café, where members introduced their countries and culture to Japanese junior high school and high school students during Tohoku University's Open Campus.
These group projects are an integral component of TUJP, as they encourage the students to really get to know the region, engage with Japanese people and contribute ideas towards improving local communities and businesses.
This year's TUJP participants came from 11 countries as diverse as Russia, South Africa, China and the United States.
"TUJP provides students of our partner institutions with the opportunity to discover Japan through a variety of learning experiences in English," said Yukiko Shimi, organizer of TUJP, and a senior assistant professor at the Global Learning Center.
"The hope is that they enjoy the experience and consider coming back for a longer exchange programme, or as a degree-seeking student in the future."
To find out about some of the other exchange programmes available at Tohoku University, visit the Global Learning Center's website.
Contact:Tohoku University Global Learning Center
Tel: +81 22 795-4818
Email: tujpgrp.tohoku.ac.jp (for TUJP)
Email: studyabgrp.tohoku.ac.jp (for all other exchange programmes)