On Thursday, October 26, 2023, a joint class with Stanford University was held at Kinugasa Campus as part of "Cross-cultural Seminar," an international liberal arts course (Group B Liberal Arts Course).
In this class, which is taught by Naoyuki Ogino, students learn how to reflect on their unconscious stress and to confront and discuss contemporary social issues on topics such as language, globalization, and multicultural coexistence. Through a combination of hands-on experience and theoretical discussion, students deepen their intercultural understanding while learning to recognize signs of physical stress as well as the importance of confronting and overcoming preconceived notions and biases.
In the joint class, which is the only such class in the course, nine RU students joined 11 Stanford University students studying in Japan to consider and discuss the topics of beauty and ugliness. After learning about the origins of the Chinese characters for "beauty" and "ugliness," the students from both universities formed groups and searched the campus for things to photograph related to their respective ideas of "beauty" and "ugliness." Then they took photos of each other's objects using only nonverbal communication. Afterward, they regrouped in the classroom to reflect on the photos they took and the photography process.
One of the Stanford University students who joined the class commented as follows: “The class and the discussion afforded me with a good opportunity to learn about everyone’s viewpoints and to experience diversity.” Meanwhile, one RU student gave their impressions on the class by saying, “It was interesting to learn how to view things from a new perspective. There was a lot of time for communication in the class, so I am glad I was able to learn why the students from Stanford University chose to study in Japan.”
Going forward, Ritsumeikan University will continue to develop more classes like these to promote international exchange and intercultural understanding.