Comments from Participants

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Arranging flowers in COVID time

TAKEI Maiko/France

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I was one of the only two SKP students that have been able to come to Kyoto during the spring semester of 2021. Although the circumstances were particular, I had a rich and intellectually stimulating experience at Ritsumeikan University. As a graduate student in Performing Arts, I participated in the IJL Track to strengthen my mastery of the Japanese language and achieve a solid academic level that would allow me to develop my research project on traditional Japanese puppet theatre (Ningyô Jôruri). Thanks to the quality and the diversity of the Japanese classes (writing, speaking, career etc.), as well as its supportive teachers, Ritsumeikan university provides optimal conditions for learning Japanese. In parallel to my linguistic training, I had the opportunity to participate in the seminar in the intercultural collaborative project, which creates a relevant exchange between regular Japanese students from the Faculty of Letters and SKP students. Based on collaborative learning, this seminar aims to raise awareness concerning sustainable development and create group projects that meet sustainable development goals. For instance, in my group, we reflected on concrete ways to reduce plastic use on campus. We tried to introduce a stamp card system in the university’s coffee shop to encourage students to bring their cups when they order a drink. Furthermore, I could deepen my knowledge of Japanese culture thanks to the Japanese traditional art class. I took ikebana lessons, which provide a theoretical background for understanding this art and focus on creating two flower compositions per lesson. I was the only student attending the class in person, but this unusual situation allowed me to have detailed and personalized feedback on my arrangements. At the end of each lesson, students can take flowers back home, and if you buy the necessary tools, you can easily recreate ikebana compositions in your place.

Even if only a few students could enter Japan in this pandemic time, Ritsumeikan university did its best to integrate SKP students that stayed in their home country. Most of the lessons were hybrid, with the possibility to attend class either in presence or online. Therefore, students could complete their exchange program from their country and actively participate in class discussions. Lastly, Kyoto provided an optimal study environment for the art student I am. Indeed, traditional art is to be found everywhere in this ancient capital, and the town has a significant number of museums, theatres and art centres that receive precious cultural treasures. I would like to sincerely thank the SKP staff and the educational team for their support and availability during my entire stay at Ritsumeikan University.

École Normale Supérieure