2021 Activity Report vol.10:Showa Women's University

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2021 vol.10 (Online)

International Exchange Program with the Royal University of Bhutan

Report from Specially Appointed Lecturer Fujiwara Hitoshi
Department of Contemporary Liberal Arts,
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Showa Women's University

The Department of Contemporary Liberal Arts, Showa Women's University hosted an international exchange program with the Royal University of Bhutan online for a total of five days between October 18 and November 3, 2021, with a frequency of about two days a week during that period. This program was developed as part of the Sakura Science Exchange Program.

The first day, October 18, was opened by SIM Choon Kiat, Dean of the Department of Contemporary Liberal Arts. 25 students and faculty from two colleges (Sherubtse College and Jigme Namgyel Engineering College) from the Royal University of Bhutan, dressed in traditional ethnic clothing and participated in the orientation. After that, the program was started in a calm atmosphere with two presentations which were prepared by six aspiring students of the Department of Contemporary Liberal Arts. They were "A Virtual Tour of Japan through the Four Seasons" and "A Vlog of a Typical Day for a Japanese University Woman." These presentations took over one month to prepare.

First Day of the Program

On October 21 and October 25, special lectures and international workshops were held respectively. A special lecture was given by Prof. Ogawa Tomu of the Department of Contemporary Liberal Arts. He carefully explained the project activities that are the characteristics of the school and PBL (Project Based Learning) to connect them to learning. The international workshop invited Kuryu Haruka (representative director of Sento and Neighborhood General Incorporated Association/representative of Bunkyo Youth) as an external lecturer to discuss the contents of research and practices related to the inheritance of traditional cultures under the theme of public baths in Tokyo's downtown area. It was entitled " What does it mean to succeed the social identity of a town?" Later, a workshop was held with Japanese and Bhutanese students on the same theme.

Next, on October 28, Bhutanese students were challenged to take one of the PBL subjects called "Project Facilitation." Each group was divided into three to four people. They experienced the process of mapping out the future of their immediate community and designed projects to make it happen.

Participants in Group Work

On November 3, the final day, after Bhutanese students made a final presentation that was the results of the program this time, a session was held with about 15 students from Showa Women's University to introduce and learn about the culture of both Japan and Bhutan. The Japanese students came on the day with the same meticulous preparation as the first day. This included an introduction of Japanese stationery with excellent designs and functionality, and a video of Japanese people trying the spicy and renowned Bhutanese cuisine. It seemed to be a fulfilling time for students from both sides to be able to connect across borders and beyond language barriers. Under the pandemic, opportunities to study abroad and travel overseas are shrinking dramatically. However, I think that using online programs has become an invaluable opportunity for students easily to interact with their peers from countries whom one would not normally be able to meet.

Exchanges between Japanese and Bhutanese students