Starting in the 2015 academic year, the International Center at OIC has organized a short-term study abroad research program focusing on learning various fields of business in English called the Study of Business in Japan Program, or SBJP. This program is held twice a year, every year, in January and July.
This month, the 4th SBJP was held, hosting 24 students from Kyung Hee University in Korea, Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia, and various universities in China, making 3 different countries come together from January 16, 2017 until January 31, 2017. Additionally, 21 Ritsumeikan students, including international students, volunteered to be “SBJP Buddies”, joining the business lectures, company tours, and more, developing a program where students from 4 different Asian countries could learn together in English!
Student representatives from each university started the welcome party ambitiously, stating, “Although we come from various places, I am truly grateful for these valuable connections that I will make, and I want to make the most of this opportunity to study with students from so many different countries.”
The business lectures consisted of 10 different business administration professors who based their lectures on their fields of research, organizing interactive and informative lectures revealing the administration and issues of various businesses in Japan. Through the utilization of group work activities, students from various countries could work together to understand and consider business strategies and methods, bringing to light diverse perspectives from numerous backgrounds. On the company tours, questions popped up one after the other. Students realized that there are views they would not be able to encounter in their home country, and through shared encouragement throughout the program, students were able to recognize their growth and change.
SBJP Buddies focused on cultural exchange between the students, creating and managing various events. The SBJP Buddies held 3 meetings before the international students arrived preparing for the campus tour, welcome/farewell parties, the games played in each party, as well as, organizing a sushi party, a Kyoto trip, and more! International students were matched up one-on-one with SBJP Buddies to receive support during their stay in Japan. At the “First-Meeting” between international students and their matched SBJP buddies, though everyone was a bit nervous, students were able to overcome the language barrier and got to know each other. Interested SBJP Buddies stayed in the OIC Seminar House with the international students, bringing the full experience of studying abroad, experiencing lectures, cultural exchange, and home stay in English right on campus.
SBJP buddies commented, “I was able to speak with international students casually, no matter the nationality, just like I would with my friends!” and, “It’s possible to talk in English, but I also want to know more about their country by learning their language!” as well as, “I want to make the best of what I learned for my next study abroad!” Many SBJP Buddies showed that they want to take advantage of the new knowledge and realizations they acquired through this experience towards study abroad, language acquisition, cultural exchange with international students, and more!
Through the cooperation of departments at OIC, the International Center endeavors to increase the number of participating countries and regions, bringing together more students for SBJP, upholding one of OIC’s concepts “Asia’s Gateway”, while encouraging international exchange, as a university that is “Beyond Borders”.