Connecting with Society

Connecting with Society


Training leads to new challenges

Risa Ikeuchi (17th class, at the university)
Recipient: The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai

The reason I decided to study at the Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai – a window for people all around the world to learn about Japan and the Japanese language – ties in heavily with my daily university life. While working as an exchange student tutor (volunteer support for foreign exchange students), I started to wonder what would be needed to create an environment to give Japanese language students in Japan the motivation to learn more and associate with many different places and people. After hearing from the staff and students at the Kansai International Center, I was able to see that one of the key points of creating that environment is an emphasis on the participant’s point of view.

During my internship, working through questionnaires and Japanese material, and inspecting classes etc, I was able to learn three ways to inspire motivation in the students. Knowledge through entertaining study material that lets you imagine yourself on a trip or studying abroad. Experiences, from interacting with parts of Japanese culture such as calligraphy, that were previously nothing more than information. And also opportunities to interact directly with people you meet in the area, through speaking Japanese. One thing in particular gave me a strong feeling of what is an essential part to achieve all three. It was a teacher stating the goal of in-class presentations was “To share something useful for mutual research, show the other students the contents of your research, and to show that work is being done even in difficult conditions.” Each person contributes their efforts and shares their work and information. I felt as if each person in the community and the center was contributing these opportunities and taking every chance to help. Only when the preparation, effort and thoughts of everyone involved in the training are combined can you truly create a training course with a focus on the participant’s point of view.

I was also able to hear a great deal of stories from the trainees through making panels to air to the region, and spending our breaks talking together. I am grateful for the environment given to me, and have decided to make use of it as much as possible. I will try to keep the things I have learned in this internship – the importance of the other side’s viewpoint and an appreciation of the studying environment – when I leave for the rest of the world, and would like to continue studying while working is an exchange student tutor.


Thoughts on the JICA internship

Shoko Yokoyama
(14th class, advanced from the Department of Intercultural Research)
Recipient: JICA Hyogo

In the spring break of my fourth year at the faculty, I decided to participate in a two week internship in JICA Hyogo. I decided to do this based on the Special Intercultural Studies Lecture I attended in my first year. It gave me a great deal to think about on the subject of the various problems the world faces and what I can do about them through hearing the lectures of all the people there (including JICA representatives).

In the internship, out of all of JICA’s activities, we focused most of all on developmental educational aid and environmental education training – international activities involving collaboration between people of the area and JICA. Seeing people working in and around JICA gave me first-hand knowledge of the “raw” field of international cooperation. As someone who could not get a detailed mental image of working as a member of society, and with the vague fears that gave me, being able to work together with the staff there gave me a great deal of confidence.

During my internship, thanks to my two points of view – a university student and a JICA worker – I was able to clearly see both the ideals and reality of international cooperation for the first time. Through my internship, I also learned that the knowledge of people in the region, nearby agencies, NGOs, schools and more can all help with international cooperation. In addition to that, this work requires widespread understanding, as well as the cooperation of individual citizens.

My experiences in the internship have demonstrated to me that seeing something from a number of sides rather than one angle will lead to a far deeper analysis and understanding. It’s obvious but it’s often difficult to actualize. I think this experience is one I could only expect from the Faculty of Intercultural Studies, with its emphasis on always having a broad view of matters and taking on new challenges at every opportunity. The environmental work and regional cooperation that I saw left a very deep impression on me, as well as my views and plans for research and employment. I plan to use these experiences to take on many more challenges in future.

Faculty of Intercultural Studies/ Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University
1-2-1, Tsurukabuto, Nada-ku, Kobe, JAPAN 657-8501