Four students of Ritsumeikan University's Study in Kyoto Program stand on stage, burgundy completion certificate binders under arm. To their left is the university flag. In the background is a Japanese gold-leaf gilded screen.

Created in 1988 Ritsumeikan University’s Study in Kyoto Program (SKP) offers both undergraduate students, from their second year of study onwards, and graduates alike, the opportunity to learn about Japan in Japan.

Utilizing the extensive historical and cultural resources of the ancient city of Kyoto, the non-degree study abroad program, available as a one or two semester course of study, has to date enabled thousands of participants from around the world to deepen and expand their knowledge and understanding of both the Japanese language and culture.

Thursday, July 18 saw the most recent participants bring their time on the program to an official end with the Study in Kyoto Program Spring Completion Ceremony.

The ceremony opened with a congratulatory speech from Associate Professor Takamichi Isoda, Director of the International Center, and closed with a speech from Associate Professor Ken Ishizuka, SKP Japanese Language Coordinator.

Four student representatives, selected to give their own speeches, were presented with their completion certificates.

Photos of the ceremony, together with highlights from the students’ speeches and links to the program website, can be found below.

Associate Professor Takamichi Isoda, Director of the International Center, stands on stage at a lectern draped in a thick burgundy red cloth covering emblazoned with the traditional university icon
Associate Professor Takamichi Isoda, Director of the International Center, opened proceedings

A close up of Erik Boerjesson during his speech
Erik Boerjesson: ‘Without Ritsumeikan, I would not have had the amazing experience of studying Japanese, not only in Japan but in one of Japan’s most beautiful cities. The opportunity to study here, to explore Kyoto and other parts of Japan has been incredible. To walk around Gion*, to eat traditional Japanese food at a kawadoko** restaurant looking out over Kamo River, or to simply explore some of Japan’s most famous historical landmarks - all of these are experiences that no other city in Japan could have provided.’
A close up of Yunzhu Feng during her speech
Yunzhu Feng: ‘The teaching style of Ritsumeikan University is positive and energetic. Faculty, classmates and friends are also very warm and friendly, which makes me confident. I’m very glad to have been able to be an exchange student for a year and experience the beauty of Japan in every season - cherry blossoms in spring, fireworks in summer, red maple in autumn, and white snow in winter.’

* Gion: the traditional entertainment district of Kyoto
** Kawadoko: a raised wooden platform built by the side of, or sometimes over, a river, often as an extension to a restaurant, which serves as a cool seating area to enjoy food and drink during the hot summer season. Kyoto is famed for its kawadoko, with a number situated by the side of Kamo River.

A close up of Maria Nanna during her speech
Maria Nanna : ‘Leaving the people I met here will not be easy, especially when it comes to my friends from Tokiwa International House, both International students and Japanese Resident Mentors, who I met everyday for months and became my family. However I find comfort in thinking that, thanks to this experience, from now on I will have family members all over the world.’
A close up of Erik Boerjesson during his speech
Laurentiu Chiriac: Laurentiu Chiriac gave an inspiring speech entirely in Japanese, which he ended poignantly with his personal motto,
‘Opportunities dangle always before your eyes. Be sure to take them before they slip away.’ *

* English translation of a quotation from The Tatami Galaxy, a 2004 novel by Tomohiko Morimi

The Study in Kyoto Program (SKP):


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