Ritsumeikan University held an international exchange workshop on Kinugasa Campus, Tuesday, January 14. A total of one hundred and fifty participants took part, including exchange students from one of Ritsumeikan University’s partner institutions, The University of Adelaide; current Ritsumeikan University students; and over a hundred pupils from Kyoto Municipal Saikyo High School’s attached Junior High School.
Organized by Ritsumeikan University’s Kinugasa Campus International Center, the workshop was designed with the ultimate goal of creating a memorable international exchange experience as a source of inspiration for future study for both university students and pupils alike.
Conducted entirely in English, the workshop saw third year pupils from Kyoto Municipal Saikyo High School’s attached Junior High School work together with The University of Adelaide exchange students and current Ritsumeikan University students to build communicative relationships and overcome differences in language and culture. The exchange students are currently studying Japanese language and culture in Kyoto; whilst the current Ritsumeikan University students work as volunteer ‘buddies’ for the Ritsumeikan Summer (RSJP) and Winter Japanese Programs (RWJP), helping program participants adapt to student life in Kyoto.
Proceedings began with exchange students, and then pupils, giving presentations to the group as a whole on their respective countries and local areas; before all participants split into small groups of five or six to discuss current international issues such as global warming and poverty.
This year marks the 7th anniversary of the annual short-term exchange program, which sees Ritsumeikan University welcome exchange students from The University of Adelaide. The program is overseen by Ritsumeikan University Kinugasa Campus International Center. In welcoming local junior high school pupils, The International Workshop was held for the very first time as a trial event.
Ritsumeikan University would like to express its thanks and appreciation for the efforts of The University of Adelaide exchange students, the pupils from Kyoto Municipal Saikyo High School’s attached Junior High School, and indeed all who participated, in making the workshop an unbridled success.
Ritsumeikan University Student:
‘I was really impressed by the presentations the pupils had put together and the way in which they put their all into speaking English. The discussion themes were based on the SDGs, which meant that there were a lot of overlaps with my studies as a university student, and it has certainly motivated me to look more into global issues in the future.’
The University of Adelaide student:
‘It’s amazing just how well the students from Saikyo Junior High have learned their English. It’s really nice to know because the involvement between Japan and Australia has increased over the years and being able to talk with the students about world issues and seeing how well they have made their presentations was heartwarming. I think Australia itself really benefits from learning from other cultures.’
Kyoto Municipal Saikyo High School’s attached Junior High School pupil:
‘Communicating entirely in English was difficult, if I’m honest, but in that I found could express myself in the language, it was a valuable experience for me. I was nervous though and missed words out here and there, and so I realize I need to gain more experience in speaking in these situations.’