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American and Hong Kong students learn about Japanese culture and education

The International Center received visits from seven students from OKU exchange partners, the U.S. University of North Carolina Wilmington and China’s Hong Kong Institute of Education, in the School Internship and Cultural Exchange Program (SICEP) held July 6 through July 17.
The SICEP program was created for the purpose of increasing understanding of Japan by learning about Japanese education and developing professionals with a global perspective by inviting students to observe and do their teacher practical experience at nearby elementary and junior high schools. It is sponsored by the Japan Student Services Organization’s (JASSO) student exchange support system for accepting short-term training/study under partnership agreements. The entire program is held in English so that students studying Japanese as well as other majors can participate, with OKU’s Japanese students acting as tutors assisting with interpreting.
Students participating in the event took Linguistic Research Methods, Special Issues in English Education, Foreign Language Communication and other classes, learning about Japan’s education system and English language education. In Professor Haruhisa Mizuno’s lecture on Psychology Special Experimental Practice, students presented in English on Japan’s education system and school culture, followed by a discussion on the differences with the American and Hong Kong education systems.
Participants also made a visit to observe OKU affiliated Hirano Elementary and Junior High Schools, and to Kishiwada Chuo Elementary School, where they talked about their native language, gave English lessons, and interacted with the children. They also did homestays through Global Kashiba, a locally organized international exchange group, and visited OKU’s traditional music study group, tea ceremony club and judo club. These experiences allowed them to learn more about Japanese culture as they interacted closely with local residents and OKU students.
The students remarked on the way “children become accustomed to learning together with others from a young age in Japan” and said that “it’s wonderful to see how both children and university students work hard together in their studies and club activities.”