2023 Activity Report vol.12:University of Fukui

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2023 vol.12 (Course A)

Thai high school students learn about advanced textile technology in Fukui, the "Kingdom of Textiles"

Report from Admission Center, University of Fukui

 Admission Center, UF invited nine students and one supervising faculty member from Mahathai School (Mahathai High School) in Thailand to Fukui from September 3 to September 9, 2023. Fukui is known as the "Kingdom of Textiles," and the students were able to experience advanced textile technologies and had opportunities for international exchanges. The invited high school students were willing to participate in all of the programs.

Activity Report Photo 1
Visitors with President UEDA Takanori

 The group arrived at Chubu Centrair International Airport on September 3, and took a train to Fukui. The International Affairs Division held an orientation on the morning of September 4, and the students paid a courtesy visit to President Ueda before visiting the laboratories of the School of Engineering. On the afternoon of the 4th and the morning of the 5th, they attended lectures about the carbon fiber molding process, and then carried out experiments to clarify the effects that carbon fiber molding methods have on its strength. The participating students had learned about the characteristics of carbon fiber in advance, and proactively asked the leading faculty members and university students in the laboratory about any queries they had concerning the carbon fiber experiment, enabling them to obtain a better understanding of the experiment. In the evening, they put on yukata (light kimono) and visited the local Jin‑ai Girls High School, where they tried matcha together with local high school students in a tea ceremony room. The students enjoyed their experience of Japanese culture.

Activity Report Photo 2
Practical training on carbon fiber molding processes and its strength

 On the morning of September 6, the participants visited a local chemical manufacturer (Nicca Chemical Co., Ltd.) that is operating in Thailand. Here, the students learned how actual Japanese manufacturing technologies are connected to the productization in Thailand. Many of the students seemed deeply impressed when they caught a glimpse of Japan's industrial development and technology. That afternoon, they attended lectures about supercritical dyeing techniques, which dye textiles without using water, supported by the technological capabilities of Fukui, the Kingdom of Textiles. They then carried out an experiment to clarify what effects different pressures and temperatures during supercritical dyeing have on the color concentration. The visiting students showed great interest in the development of dyeing techniques that do not use water, considering both the issue of a lack of water in the future and wastewater treatment measures. They asked UF students who were supporting them during the experiment a variety of questions about the new dyeing technique. Looking at the visiting students, we felt that this was a fruitful experiment.

Activity Report Photo 3
Practical training for a dyeing experience with supercritical dyeing

 On the morning of September 7, the students went to Takefu Higashi Senior High School, with which they had interacted previously in an international conference. They were divided up into small groups together with the Japanese high school students and deepened their exchange by holding discussions in English about a given topic. During this interaction with school students of the same age, both the Japanese and Thai students were strongly motivated as they gained an understanding of each other‑it was impressive to observe them. In the afternoon, the participants visited one of Fukui's representative cultural facilities, the Echizen Washi Village, where they enjoyed a Japanese paper‑making experience and furthered their understanding of Japan in the relaxed atmosphere. That night, a free discussion was held in the university cafeteria. Faculty and staff members who had helped with this program also joined in, and the participants spent an enjoyable time looking back over their visit.

Activity Report Photo 4
Japanese culture: Japanese paper‑making experience

 On the morning of September 8, the students gave presentations on their "Sakura Science Program" outcomes. We were told that, after finishing their experiments at the university, the participating students summarized the outcomes of the experiments in tables and graphs at their hotel, made slides for their presentations, and practiced presenting in English in advance. Each group spoke about their outcomes based on the knowledge they had gained, covering the results of the carbon fiber and supercritical dyeing experiments and the differences between Thai and Japanese cultures. They received positive feedback from the faculty members responsible for the experiments. Following the presentations, we held a completion ceremony.

 The participants went safely on their way home on September 9. Some of the invited students hope to study abroad at UF in the future. It is our earnest hope that the students who completed this program will play an active role as bridges to promote international exchange between Japan and Thailand.

 In addition to the 10 people who were invited for this program, Mahathai High School's President, Chair, a Japanese‑language instructor, and an English‑language instructor participated by paying for themselves. In fact, the participation of those responsible for the school enabled them to obtain a deeper understanding of the university's education and research; they also exchanged opinions with people affiliated with the university about a plan to establish an overseas high school and university connection education and research hub, and started forming a foundation for international exchange.

 Finally, we extend our deep gratitude to this program, which gave us the valuable opportunity to develop further exchange between Mahathai High School and the University of Fukui, and to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.