Activity Report of Open Application Program 2021 vol.2 (Online)
Online exchange with Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT) of Thammasat University in Thailand
Report from Tokyo City University
This exchange program was originally planned for adoption in the 2020 fiscal year but an increase in new COVID-19 infections resulted in postponement to this year. In addition, since holding the event in person was not feasible at the scheduled time, the program was changed to an online event. The university had no experience holding this type of international exchange online, and additional time was needed to finalize the program, which focuses on creating interest in visiting Japan and promoting ties between both organizations. Furthermore, in order to take advantage of being online wherein many participants can be invited all at once, we asked SIIT to announce that the event would be held in a symposium format.
SIIT: 51 students, 5 faculty members
Tokyo City University: 11 students, 9 instructors
At the beginning of the program, greetings were first made by representatives of both universities. The greetings referred to the importance of the Sakura Science Exchange Program that has supported numerous student visits to our university thus far even though Tokyo City University has been implementing other frameworks as well for international exchange including accepting overseas students/sending our students overseas according to an agreement among 5 universities.
Following the greetings, outlines of both universities were introduced and the international program at Tokyo City University including the system to accept students from overseas was explained (Photo 1). In particular, since a presentation by SIIT alumni currently studying at Tokyo City University using a scholarship system, which we explained in this session, was included in the program, we believe that introducing our system and an actual example together in tandem facilitated the creation of interest among SIIT students.
Next, the students visited two locations in Tokyo in a virtual tour with real-time reporting by Tokyo City University students (Photo 2). This session was designed to arouse future interest in experiencing Japan in light of the current situation in which overseas travel is difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The locations were Asakusa, which is a globally known tourism destination, and Akihabara, which science major students would find interesting. Since, during the session, the students toured the destinations on foot and reported through a portable Wi-Fi connection, there were problems with communication interruptions along the way but it still seemed participants felt like they were strolling the streets of Tokyo in real time and many positive chat messages were received.
The session was followed by the highlight of the program - a report on the life of two SIIT alumni currently studying in Tokyo City University (Photo 3). The alumni reported on not only their research but also overall life studying in Japan including the food. We believe the participants were able to gain a sense of how fulfilling life in Japan is for the alumni.
At the end of the program, we conducted an academic exchange in the urban engineering field and the information and telecommunication field, which is a part of the exchange plan grant provided by the Sakura Science Exchange Program (Photo 4). Two breakout rooms were set up and this part of the program was held in the format of parallel sessions, wherein students majoring in each field presented their research results and held discussions. 7 students in total conducted presentations and instructors also participated in information sharing on the research fields.
The three-and-half-hour program featuring the above contents ended successfully. A large number of SIIT students participated and provided many positive comments, and the program was considered a success. We believe this year’s program helped many SIIT students learn about the Sakura Science Exchange Program. We will continue to invite students through the Sakura Science Exchange Program and promote the program so talented students can have the opportunity to study in Japan.