Written by Dr. Toshinobu Hatanaka, Faculty of Science, Toho University
In the Faculty of Science, we held a class online, including student exchange with Thailand via Zoom, since we were unable to conduct overseas study trip this year.
Due to Thai students’ strong interest in Japan, we had a lively exchange where our students answered various questions about Japan. In addition, the Thai students were considerate and supportive by communicating in English, so it seemed to be a good experience for Toho students who are not good at English.
Eight students from the Faculty of Science attended the class, which was held at Khon Kaen University, a national university in the northeastern region of Thailand, and one of our international exchange partners. By taking this course, students can earn credits for one of the following courses: Overseas Exposure Program III (Liberal Arts), Integrated study Ⅴ (Course for Teaching professions), and Field studies in environmental science I (Environmental Science).
We had a total of four 90 minutes classes in Japanese with about 25 students from the Japanese Language Education Department of Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
In the first and second classes, the students introduced themselves and got to know each other, the Thai students then asked questions and made comments on a presentation about Thai cuisine that they had made, and the students worked on assignments in groups.
Furthermore, since the task of the class was to create a video that would attract Thai students to visit Japan and Toho University, we also asked each other’s interests and concerns to help us in executing the task.
The Toho university students created a video explaining their home prefecture, sightseeing spots in Japan, the different seasons, and the Toho University campus, and received feedback on it from the Thai students in the third session of the exchange class. Students from Toho University also commented on the video created by the Thai students.
In the fourth session, our students answered Thai students’ questions about education and schools in Japan, and they worked in groups to make a presentation on the differences between schools and education in Thailand and Japan.
Then the fifth session of the exchange program had a 90-minute class in English with about 25 students majoring in science education at the Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
Students from both universities were highly interested in natural science, so after introducing themselves, they introduced nature, scientific research, and science and technology in each other’s countries in English, exchanged questions, and had discussions.
I felt that online international exchange has the potential to become one of the new forms of international exchange in the future, as it does not require travel expenses and can be conducted during class hours.