Academics and Research

Exchange program gives Korbel students better understanding of Japan

In March, 23 graduate and undergraduate students from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies had the opportunity to visit Japan as participants in the Kakehashi Project. Sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the fully-funded student exchange program between Japan and the U.S. aims to promote deeper mutual understanding among the people of both countries, to enable future leaders of Japan-U.S. exchanges to form networks, and to help young people develop wider perspectives to encourage future active roles at the global level.

As part of their nine-day tour of Japan, Korbel students attended lectures about society, politics, history and foreign policy; visited educational institutions, high-tech and traditional industries, World Heritage sites and provincial governments; and participated in activities that strengthened their knowledge and appreciation of Japanese culture.

The homestay experience was a notable part of the experience for participants in the program.

“We were really touched by the kindness, warmth, and hospitality of our host family,” says Andrew Scott, a second-year MA candidate in the global finance, trade and economic integration program. “They prepared several activities for us to take part in during the day: a private tour of a local mushroom farm, a visit to the Osafune Sword Museum, and a trip to a scenic lookout point overlooking the coast, with a view of Maejima Island.”

Through their involvement in the Kakehashi Project, students not only had the opportunity to learn about Japan’s rich history and culture; they gained invaluable knowledge to be effective future leaders in the international affairs community.

“The Kakehashi Project gave me the chance to take the theories I learned in courses at Korbel and see them in practice,” says Aaron Hinds, a second-year undergraduate student at Korbel. “Sitting in on the various lectures held at Meiji and Osaka universities, I learned about many of the concerns the people of the East Asian and Pacific regions face, while at the same time formulating and proposing ideas to possibly mitigate those problems with Japanese scholars and political officials.”

Scott also sees the value of his experiences in Japan.

“The knowledge that I gained on the trip will definitely be useful in my own studies around the politics and economics of East Asia, particularly as they relate to China’s global emergence,” he says. “This will be beneficial to my own long-term plans to work in the region later in my career.”



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