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Top>Hakumon CHUO [125th Anniversary Issue]>International symposium with past exchange students For Our Juniors Heading Into International Society

Hakumon CHUOIndex

125th Anniversary Event

International symposium with past exchange students For Our Juniors Heading Into International Society

As part of the celebrations of our 125th anniversary, we welcomed past exchange students from China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand to be panelists at an international symposium. The theme of the symposium (which was held in Building No. 5 on the Korakuen Campus on June 5) was “For Our Juniors Heading Into International Society.

Past exchange students from five Asian countries

The panelists were Lin Dan of China, Kweon Dae Il of South Korea, Li Yu Ling of Taiwan, Nguyen thuy thi thanh of Vietnam, and Bandit Suksawat of Thailand. Joined by Faculty of Commerce Professor Hiromitsu Hayashida (former vice-president in charge of international affairs and advisor to the current president), who acted as coordinator, they talked about their post graduation activities and hopes for Chuo students in the future.

Following greetings from Chancellor and President Kazuyuki Nagai and Professor Stephen Hesse of the Faculty of Law (head of the International Exchange Center), Professor Hayashida opened the symposium by saying, “In today's world, you have probably all heard the word internationalization. Chuo University must also strive for internationalization.”

First, the panelists introduced themselves. Mr. Lin entered the Faculty of Commerce in 1996 and continued on to the Graduate School in 2000, completing his studies in 2004. He started to run his own business immediately after graduation and now manages three companies.

Mr. Kweon entered the Faculty of Commerce in 1997. During his student days he was exchange student president. He now does trade-related work.

Ms. Li is a general-secretary for exchange students to Taiwan and gives lectures and training sessions three days a week. She is also the mother of one child.

Mr. Nguyen came to Chuo as a research student and entered the Master's program in 1996. He returned to Vietnam in 2002 after completing his doctorate and he became vice-president at the National Economics University in 2003.

Mr. Bandit entered the Graduate School of the Science and Engineering Department in 2003. He completed his doctorate in 2008 and is now doing mechanical engineering research in Thailand.

Encounters at Chuo University which changed me

When asked by Professor Hayashida, “what were the enjoyable and difficult times of your days at university?”, Mr. Lin looked back over his time as an exchange student and replied as follows: “I have good memories of entering Professor Keiko Kitamura's seminar and studying 13 hours a day. But the studies were difficult, and it was hard when I had to give up my goal of becoming a certified accountant.”

Ms. Li said, “There were many encounters at Chuo University which changed me.” Looking back at a meeting with a senior and her family, Li recalls with fondness, “The senior welcomed me with a warm smile. My Japanese was still poor, so she taught me about Japanese culture in kanji and English.”

Mr. Nguyen revealed his struggles with acquiring Japanese. “Learning Japanese was important, so I spoke with Japanese students for 30 minutes a day and improved a lot,” he said. Mr. Bandit observed that, “I was worried before coming on the exchange, but after arriving both students and professors were very kind. I learned Japanese and about Japanese culture at Chuo University.”

Readings of names and addresses were difficult

Professor Hayashida's next question was, “Was coming from the kanji cultural sphere useful in acquiring Japanese?” In response, Mr. Lin said, “But Chinese also has kanji with different meanings and I sometimes made mistakes with the readings, too.” Ms. Li added, “There were some benefits, but learning the Japanese readings was tough. The readings of names and addresses were especially difficult.” She then relived an episode of having a hard time because she was unable to read kanji at her part time job, and then going to the supermarket and learning the names of products.

Professor Hayashida and the five panelists

Mr. Nguyen said, “I spent about 6 hours a day during my Master's course studies looking up Japanese in a dictionary. My research progress was quite slow.” Mr. Bandit added, “Reading and writing Japanese was difficult. I studied by reading children's manga (with the readings printed above the kanji), and watching TV with subtitles.

Mr. Kweon stressed the importance of using the four years of university life to full effect. “I came on the exchange, not to learn Japanese, but because I wanted to study Japanese culture. Of your four years at university, I hope you will spend three years for study and one year thinking about what you can do for society.”

Next, Professor Hayashida asked the panelists, “How should Chuo University promote itself to the world?” and received the following impressions and advice. “Compared to Tokyo University and Waseda University, Chuo's name recognition is low in China. You need to use people (from Chuo University) who are well known in China.” (Mr. Lin) “Graduates need to be conscious of promoting Chuo when they become famous.” (Mr. Kweon) “Chuo University isn't well known in Taiwan. The kanji for Chuo gives an impression of stiffness and seriousness.” (Ms. Li) “Chuo has a long history and enthusiastic teachers. The library has an excellent collection of materials and a complete environment for study.” (Mr. Nguyen)

Interact with many people. Challenge things.

To conclude, the panelists gave messages to current exchange students.

Mr. Lin said, “I want you to be proud of Chuo's history and achievements. Please interact with many people at the university.”

Mr. Kweon said, “Going home and saying at a job interview, 'I'm good at Japanese' is pointless. You need something extra like gaining something through volunteer work, or being familiar with the economy.”

Ms. Li's message was, “Always keep your antenna up and do what you want to do. Be aware of your actions and clear a path to your future.”

Mr. Nguyen said, “Challenge things. It is important to understand the Japanese character.”

And Mr. Bandit said, “Decide on your goals, think about what you need in order to achieve them, and then make them a reality.”

The symposium ended with a speech from Professor Hayashida and the following words: “I hope to have this kind of opportunity again. There are still many issues facing internationalization and I think it is important to accumulate answers.”

(Student reporters Yuki Ikeya, fourth year student in the Faculty of Commerce / Miyuki Nozaki, third year student in the Faculty of Law)