October 1, 2015
19 international students from eight universities in seven countries came to Yamagata through the short-term summer program and studied with 17 Yamagata University students from August 26th to September 2nd, 2015. They all communicated in English throughout the program, and the theme of the program this year was "The Earthquake Disaster and Technology." They learned how Japanese scientific technology relates to reconstruction and disaster prevention.
For the first three days, the program was held in Yamagata city. Students gave presentations on their home universities, countries, and natural disaster and prevention methods. Professor Shinji Yamazaki lectured on the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and students exchanged opinions in group discussion.
They visited Yamagata Broadcasting Company (YBC) to see the studios and editing room. The YBC staff gave a lecture on how they reported the Great East Japan Earthquake and how they confirmed the safety of the YBC employees.
For three days from August 29, international students spent a wonderful time with their Yamagata host families, visiting historical sites such as Yamadera and Kaminoyama Castle and enjoying local dishes and Japanese foods together.
On August 31, students visited Yonezawa Campus to learn about the latest technology that Yamagata University is renowned worldwide. Professor Junji Kido gave them a lecture on organic EL. They looked around laboratories that develop transistors as well as the Innovation Center for Organic Electronics (INOEL). When Makoto Ayabe, Associate Professor of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Engineering), talked about the Japanese industry and volunteer activities after the Earthquake, the Indonesian student shared her own experience of the Sumatra Earthquake in 2004.
On September 1, students visited Katsura-shima Island in Urato Islands, located in Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture. Katsura-shima Island, one of the most famous areas for oyster industry in Japan, was heavily damaged by tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake. Students had a chance to listen to the local oyster farmers. The farmers told students that protecting our lives on our own is the only way to protect and help others. They also emphasized the importance of storing preservative foods and communicating with neighbors on a daily basis. Students also listened the story about the oyster farmers in the US and France who kindly sent ropes, floating tubes and anchors to the Katura-shima Island after the Earthquake.
On the last day of the program, students gave poster presentations on what they felt and learned during the program. They reported what technology can do to prevent and recover from natural disaster, the relationship between disaster and sustainable energy technology, and volunteer activities. Vice President Hironori Yasuda handed the certificate of completion to all the participants and closed the program. At the farewell party, Yamagata University students sang songs for international students and gave message cards.
After the program, the participants keep communicating online and their friendship is growing even stronger. Some of international students will come back to Yamagata University by exchange program in the near future. Yamagata University students can study abroad by applying to the YU "Gakusei Taishi" Program. Yamagata University will continue facilitating more opportunities for students to experience multicultural collaboration.