For two weeks from September 13, 2014 to September 28, 24 first-year undergraduate students took part in the 19th START Program *. Led by Associate Professor Ayami Nakaya (International Center) and two other teaching staff members, the students went to Universitas Brawijaya (Brawijaya University) in Malang, East Java, Republic of Indonesia.
At the Universitas Brawijaya, the students had Indonesian language lessons and lectures in English on Indonesian history, economy, politics, traditional arts, environmental issues, relations with Japan, urban development and food processing. For them, it was the first time to come in contact with Indonesian language. But while exchanging with the local population they started to realize the importance of communicating in the language of their host country. Further, the START participants first felt uncomfortable listening to lectures in unfamiliar English and couldn’t understand them enough. However, they engaged in preparation and review of the lessons and exchanged information with each other and soon became able to ask questions concerning the lessons or issues they wanted to know about Indonesia.
During free time, the START participants went sightseeing in town together with students from Universitas Brawijaya and they deepened mutual understanding by introducing their cultures to each other. Furthermore, they experienced Indonesian traditional performing and fine arts. Visiting many places such as zoos and urban areas, they could learn the traditions and diversity of Indonesia. The participants also enjoyed a homestay of two nights and three days on a weekend, and they got a warm welcome at the village of their host families. The students felt the hospitality of the Indonesian people and had the opportunity to be exposed to their daily life, a precious experience they couldn’t have had by staying at university the whole time.
On the last day, everybody held a presentation in English about a topic of his/her choice which he/she has investigated during the two weeks of stay (topic examples: Japanese language education in Indonesia, primary education, poverty problem, urban development issues from university students’ point of view, garbage problem etc.). At the farewell party, the host teachers, local students and host families came together. The students expressed their gratitude for the fulfilling two weeks and everybody felt sad about saying goodbye.
After returning to Japan, the students had a follow-up session and confirmed their training results based on their own presentation contents and on the concept of Global Core Competencies (competencies necessary to act as global manpower). Looking at themselves objectively helped to reset their goals, and they became able to consider which kind of efforts should be taken to reach them. Two weeks was a short period, but the program was fulfilling enough to make each of them feel that they had made significant progress.
* 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 academic year 2013, it has already been held 16 times. In the first half of the academic year 2014, the program was held for three times dispatching students to Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia. 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 following a two-month training period before departure. Back in Japan, they had a follow-up session.
Indonesian language and conversation lessons
Enjoying traditional Indonesian dance
The students visited a primary school at the village
of their host families
Discussion at the lesson of Japanese Program
International Exchange Group,
Education and International Office,
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