For two weeks from February 22, 2013 through March 10, 24 first-year undergraduate students took part in the 8th START Program *. Led by Professor Seiichi Moribe (Graduate School of Social Sciences) and Professor Hajime Nishitani (Graduate School of Social Sciences) and 2 other faculty members, the students stayed at the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) of the Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia.
After the 24 students visited Kangaroo Island on the first weekend, each of the participants lived in different families’ homes during their stay in Australia. It was the first trip abroad for almost all of the students. The homestay provided students with a wealth of experience; on weekdays they commuted by bus from their host families’ houses to the university, and as there were no other Japanese speakers in the same household, they struggled to communicate in English with their homestay parents. In the beginning, the students felt some hesitation and embarrassment. They would make mistakes and chide themselves in a culturally different and unfamiliar environment, but gradually the students became more active and were able to speak to people without embarrassment and give their opinions without fear of failure.
At the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) of the Flinders University, the students separated into 3 groups with 3 different teachers and were educated mainly in English pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, expressions and how to have an interview or give a presentation. They also attended lectures on the Australian educational system, history（Aborigine）and environmental issues（water shortage or pollution）. Some of the students experienced difficulty understanding lessons in English and showed determination to improve their understanding of the lecture’s content. In order to collect information on campus life and Australia for a final group presentation, the participants interviewed local students and asked them about various topics.
There were many opportunities to get to know Australian students, such as talking with international students at the Flinders University about educational issues or playing volleyball.
The participants also visited elementary and secondary schools where they enjoyed lunch and football with the children and introduced Japanese culture. At a visit to the City Council they learned about the structure and management of local administration, and they saw nature’s beauty on the weekend at the Kangaroo Island. Students had the opportunity to expand their knowledge about Australia from a variety of perspectives.
It was a hard schedule without much rest, but all of the participants cheerfully completed the whole journey and after the end of the START program, they looked back on their experiences and spoke enthusiastically, saying that they want to study hard to go on a long-term overseas study program and that they realized that they also have to study more about Japan.
* The START Program provides first year students who have little overseas experience the opportunity to attend lectures and see everyday life at a foreign partner university in order to raise interest in international/cross-cultural activities and studying abroad. It was established in 2010 and by the end of the first term of 2012, it has already been held seven times. This was the eighth time the program was held. The Hiroshima University Fund financially supports part of the research expenses to lessen students’ economic burden and to give a broader population of students the opportunity to study abroad. The participants went to study abroad after a 2-month training period before departure. Back in Japan, they had a follow-up session.
Interviewing local students
At the Kangaroo Island
Japanese game at an elementary school
Host parents were also invited to the farewell party.
International Exchange Group,
Education and International Office,
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