International Center Holds 5th Symposium, on "Internationalization at Teacher Training Universities"
The Osaka Kyoiku University International Center held its fifth symposium on November 12, taking up the topic this year of "Internationalization at Teacher Training Universities: Student Exchanges with Asia." Some 140 faculty members and undergraduate, graduate, and study-abroad students attended the event, which took place at the Kashiwara Campus.
Following open remarks by OKU President Sumio Kuribayashi, Japan Student Services Organization Vice-President Hideki Yonekawa delivered a keynote address titled, "Study-Abroad Student Acceptance in Japan: Toward True Internationalization in Japanese Higher Education." Yonekawa provided a survey of historical shifts related to studying abroad (both sending and accepting students) in Japanese higher education as well as of the current situation including global trends. In his talk, he stressed the significance of universities taking the lead when it comes to overseas study in light of accelerating globalization.
Next, Hanoi University Department of Japanese Vice-Chair Pham Thu Huong and Ho Chi Minh City Pedagogical University Department of Japanese Chair Cao Le Dung Chi gave a presentation on "Japanese Language Education in Vietnam and Studying Abroad: Hopes for Increased Exchanges." Both presenters had attended OKU as study-abroad students to learn Japanese language and culture. In her talk, Dr. Pham noted that Japanese companies have been actively moving operations into Vietnam. In light of this, Japanese has become the 8th most common foreign language studied in Vietnam and Vietnamese have risen to constitute the 3rd largest group of study-abroad students in Japan. She spoke of her expectations that study-abroad students would come to serve as a bridge between the two countries. Cao next spoke in depth about the history of how the Japanese language program had developed at the Ho Chi Minh City institution and details about the education offered.
Hokkaido University of Education Asahikawa Campus Associate Professor Hyunjin Kim and OKU International Center Professor Shigeru Jochi then took the stage for a section on "Pioneers of the Global Age." Professor Kim had once been at the OKU graduate school as a study-abroad research student, and she spoke of how she put that experience to use to form the three pillars of her current work as a university faculty member: "spread knowledge about Korea," "connect with people from around the world," and "teach about Japan." For his part, Professor Jochi spoke of how his study-abroad experience at the graduate school of OKU partner institution Beijing Normal University was situated as a launch point for his career as a researcher. His message for those students who were considering studying abroad was that they need to be fully prepared for when they go.
The lectures were followed by a panel discussion among the presenters. With "globalized human resources" and "study abroad" as the key points in question, a lively discussion then unfolded over such issues as what kinds of skills make someone useful in a globalizing world and what the benefits of studying abroad are.