2018 Zhejiang University Spring School concludes (11–24 March 2018)

17 May 2018

      From 6 through 20 March, 13 KyotoU students took part in the 2018 Zhejiang University Spring School, offered by Kyoto University as one of its 2017-2018 short-term outbound multicultural collaborative learning programs.

      Conducted with full cooperation from Zhejiang University (ZJU), the annual two-week program features Chinese language lessons, cultural experiences, and opportunities to interact with peers from across the globe. The close KyotoU-ZJU partnership has enabled the Spring School to continue for eight years and serve 93 students to date, including 13 participants for this year, selected from multiple departments and academic years.

      In the language lessons, participants from Kyoto were placed in classes with those of similar levels from other countries. They learned Chinese while getting to know their non-Japanese counterparts and ZJU students.

      The program also offered cultural experiences in the form of lectures on Chinese culture and visits to a private corporation and a World Heritage Site.

      Warmly welcomed by Zhejiang University, participants spent an enriching two weeks, making new friends and gaining knowledge not available elsewhere.

      Report from a participating student

      Kota Hayashi
      Group leader for the 2018 Zhejiang University Spring School
      Fourth year, Faculty of Economics
      (Report presented at a debriefing held on 29 March 2018)

      Hangzhou is a city of rich history that served as the capital of both the Wuyue Kingdom and the Southern Song dynasty (making it one of the eight ancient Chinese capitals). It is also known for its stunning natural beauty, one of its best-known landmarks being West Lake, a World Heritage Site. Marco Polo proclaimed Hangzhou as the world's "finest and most splendid city".

      I was one of 13 KyotoU students — varied in their departments, academic years, and proficiency in Chinese — who spent an extremely enriching two-week period earlier this month in this city, learning Chinese, visiting cultural sites, and interacting with those from other universities.

      In the language classes, we received practical lessons in reading, speaking, and other skills appropriate to our respective levels. By talking with classmates from numerous countries, we also learned about societies and ways of thinking in China and various other parts of the world, an experience not readily available as part of our student lives in Japan.

      In addition, we took part in numerous sightseeing and museum tours around the city (famous for its Longjing tea and silk) to learn about local culture and history. On weekends, we individually went on excursions to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Nanjing, gaining wider and deeper knowledge about Chinese culture through firsthand experience.

      We also had opportunities to get to know students from the host university, including those who volunteered to support our activities, and those from the College of Agriculture and Biotechnology. Together, we enjoyed delectable meals, discussed topics such as views of culture and society, and participated in athletic activities, such as table tennis and badminton. Those experiences are sure to stay with me for years to come.

      In the streets of Hangzhou, meanwhile, we saw shared bicycles and electric buses everywhere we went, and shoppers using their smartphones, instead of cash, for their everyday transactions. We witnessed both an "ancient and historical" and "new and changing" China, one that is eagerly embracing convenience and progress. These experiences helped us feel the rapid development and transformation that Japanese media has been slow to cover.

      Experiencing numerous facets of China in this way has made us feel closer to the country.

      I am convinced that the experiences, knowledge, and connections we gained through the program will continue to serve us through our student lives and beyond.

      KyotoU students presenting on Japanese culture

      At a joint seminar

      Visiting a private corporation

      After the closing ceremony, with Professor Tang Xiaowu (front row, third from left), vice dean of the ZJU International College

      About the KyotoU short-term outbound multicultural collaborative learning programs

      Each academic year, Kyoto University sponsors seven short-term study-abroad programs (to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia) as opportunities for its students to hone their foreign-language and international skills as well as to interact with participants from other countries.

      The 2017-2018 programs were funded by Japan Student Service Organization (JASSO), the KyotoU Asian Studies Unit (KUASU), and Kyoto University (under its priority action plan), with the host institutions covering the tuition fees.

      Details on the 2018-2019 opportunities are provided in Section 2 of the following:

      2018 Zhejiang University Spring School concludes (11–24 March 2018)
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