On Thursday, July 23, 2020, associate professor Yusuke Toyoda of the College of Policy Science held an online study abroad experience event.

 Due to the spread of COVID-19 this academic year, a number of study abroad programs have been cancelled, so many students have had no choice but to abandon or postpone their dreams of studying abroad. Additionally, due to the strict campus entry restrictions put in place, it has become harder for Japanese students and international students to connect. With this being the situation, this event was planned to provide Ritsumeikan students and those overseas with an opportunity to interact with one another and talk about the things they would have liked to learn on study abroad.

 This event was held as part of the College of Policy Science’s “International PBL Seminar 1,2” course. A variety of participants - course students from the college of Policy Science, International Students in Japan majoring in CRPS, Students who were planning to this year, and students who participated last year in the Thailand-Indonesia “International PBL Program in ASEAN Countries” study abroad program, students from sister universities who were hoping to study at Ritsumeikan University this year, as well as other interested students from Ritsumeikan University - from 7 countries, totaling 35 people gathered for this event.

Introducing foods from each country
Discussion about business with COVID-19

 This event was composed of five sessions, each with presentations and discussions conducted in English. Students were able to participate in the sessions that they were interested in. In the “Let's travel across cultures and delighting your taste buds!” session, participants spent a fun time experiencing foreign cultures with some students dressed in traditional garments, playing music as they introduced the local food (from around the world) that they each brought to the session. In the “Future of business” session, Japanese and Indonesian students heatedly discussed the problems and developments in business since COVID-19. In “VR (Virtual Reality): Tour of OIC life (with COVID-19),” OIC students gave a virtual campus tour, showing the OIC campus facilities and telling about the current situation at the university, making for a very unique session. The students hoping to study abroad next year at Ritsumeikan University watched with interest. In the “Gender inequality discussion” and “Disposal plastic bags and food waste” sessions, students compared the similarities and differences between Japan and abroad, while actively giving examples from real life.

 This project was a great opportunity to connect with countries abroad even with the situation with COVID-19. Although there are many limitations in this situation, with some creativity, exchanges can become a reality. At Ritsumeikan University, we plan to continue to support students looking to study abroad in many different forms.

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