The Report of the Meeting between the President of the Hiroshima University and the International Students

Date 21st of April at15:00-16:50
Place Restaurant of the Faculty Club
Attendance Hiroshima University President(Prof. Muta Taizo)
Head of International division(Prof. Akira Ninomiya)
Director of International Student Center(Prof. Sin'icirou Tawata)
Professor of International Student Center( Prof. Kastuo Tamaoka)
Assistant Professor of International Student Center(Assistant Prof. Ayami Nakaya)
Cief of International Group(Norio Yoshida)
Staff of International Group(Seto)
Staff of International Group(Yamada) and 15 International Students from Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, Philippine, Indonesia, Korea, China, Sri Lankan, Attached

President: Why did you select the Hiroshima University for your studies?

A : Because my Supervisor in Egypt has been to the Hiroshima University and he recommended me to select this university.

B : Because my senior students in China who had studied at the Hiroshima University earlier recommended me.

C : Because I had an opportunity to meet a Japanese Professor of the Hiroshima University who visited China.

D : Because I thought that the Hiroshima University was a big university and had many international students and therefore, I would be able to expose to an English environment for both my study and other extra curricular activities.

E : Because I gained a good experience from the sandwich program between the Hiroshima University and my university in Philippine.

F : Because the Faculty of Education of the Hiroshima University is very famous in our country.

G : I could get much information about the Hiroshima University through the homepage of Egyptian Student Association in Japan, and also my friends who studied here recommended me strongly.

H : Because the Hiroshima University is the closest National University to the language school I belonged to.

President: So, I’m happy to hear that you all have strong reasons to select this university. I’m sorry that I thought that you came here because there was no choice. And, this university answers your expectation, doesn’t it? Please express your opinions freely.

A : This university is very isolated geographically, and therefore, both academic and extra-curricular activities are inadequate. We would like to have many activities for enjoying the campus life, not only study.

President: Yes, I will think on that. Well, do you have any suggestion for that?

A : A kind of competition for academic activities and sports activities.

President: If you could join the club, for example, the Sumou Club…..!

B : The system in which the university becomes our guarantor for renting out an apartment helps us a lot.

B : Our campus is very big. The fact that most of us don’t have a bike is a trouble for us.

President: It takes just about ten minuets from the Faculty of Science to the Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences. Let’s walk!

B : Yes… And I am in trouble because our lab in the Faculty of Education is very small.

President: Facilities vary from faculty to faculty. For example, each graduate student has his/her own lab in Sentannken, but the students of Graduate School of Arts don’t have any lab. We try our best to improve your learning environment as much as possible.

C : When our Prime Minister came to Hiroshima, I wanted to make him meet President Muta. But my request was not reached him by the office due to a very short time. How could we reach the President in such an instance?

President: I often go out, but I would like to arrange my time.

Head of the International Division(Prof. Ninomiya): I will make the officers confirm your request to the President.
President: If you want to meet the President, please contact the Secretary. Or else, you’d better contact the teachers here.

D : Could you please improve the way in distributing information among students? We, international students want to get information as much as possible.

President: For all international students, in the same way…?

D : Here are many representatives from different countries. I would like to propose that if you could tell us some important information like a new system, we could distribute the information effectively.

President: That’s fine. We could even exchange our views from each other through the message board at Hirodai Homepage. But we must be careful of hackers.

Director of International Student Center: Of course, it is a good idea, but I think it is also better to
have meetings regularly with around 10 people.

President: Please, make me attend these meetings again, not only once.

Head of the International Division (Prof. Ninomiya): Do you know the Muta Mail Magazine? If you enter
your e-mail address, you can receive it regularly.

President: If it is possible, why don’t you send that in both English and Chinese?

E : Regarding the same issue, could you please distribute
information in English too? It is very difficult for us to read Kanji
even though we study Japanese hard.

President: Well, if it is only in English, do you all understand? And do you
need a Chinese version too? I would like to ask Head of the International Division to attend to this matter.

F : Could you please translate the Homepage too into English? When we need to know detailed information about Professors’ research records and labs, we see only the Japanese version. Please, translate them into English too so that anybody anywhere in the world could have access to the information needed. Also, I would like to ask for family support. Many of us bring our family here. And our children are small. For them it is very important to play with the children, and for mothers also it is important to learn the language, and adjust to the Japanese culture. But we can’t enroll our children in the Child Care Centers.

President: It is a very serious problem.

F : I know it is difficult to change the rules….. And there‘s one more
problem about our wives‘ studying here. Many wives have degrees
and want to continue their studies here. But the tuition fee is very
expensive. Could you please think about tuition fee exemption or
reduction?

President: I see….. Well…if you can take her inside your bag to the
University, no problem.(Joke)

F : And we couldn’t enter the intensive language course conducted by
the International Student Center, because our scholarship is from Egyptian government. Could you please open the door for us too to join this course?

Director of International Student Center (Prof.Tawata): We’ve already changed our system in which any student could attend that course from this April.

President: I understand that the English version of Hirodai Homepage has some problems. I would like to ask Prof. Ninomiya to improve that.

G : My friend’s supervisor always compares the amount of scholarship grant with that of Japanese, and says to her,” You have to work as twice as Japanese, because you get more money”. She really feels bad. And another friend gave up her doctoral course study and went back to home country, because she was discriminated by the supervisor and lab’s members. How do you think about these cases?

President: Can we consider that it is a special case? How about you? Are you yourself O.K.? In cases like these, we need to know the name of the academic advisor from the student directly who is discriminated. Regarding the scholarships, international students need money for the life here more than Japanese; therefore, the amount is more than them. We would like to make the teachers aware of such matters through the Faculty Development program.

G : In my case, I was discriminated by a landlord when I looked for an apartment.

President: I’m surprised; there are still landlords like that! In the past, the
situation was worse. There are still some persons like that…

H : We, students in the Teacher Training Program are demanded higher results during a very short term. i.e. one and half years. So, we can’t concentrate only on learning Japanese. If it is possible, we would like to have one person who can speak English in the Health Care Center, a computer in English version and also explanation for using ATM.

President: Oh, it’ a problem. Even though you have a big amount of money in
the bank, you can’t use it. The language problem is there with many kinds of facilities and equipment. For the short-term students, we have to consider this uncomfortable situation. I request Prof. Ninomiya to attend to that.

H : And it is a big problem for us that volunteer tutors can’t understand English at all, and doesn’t know about Saijo area and the Campus. The first period is very important. I would really appreciate if you could choose students who can understand English even a little.

Director of the International Student Center (Prof. Tawata): It’s very difficult for us to select that kind of students, because there are not enough students who want to help voluntarily.

President: I see. It is a problem of lack of talent.

I : Regarding that issue, we feel that the International Student Center takes care of the short-term students well, but not the long-term students. And also, there is not enough space and could you please reserve some space to open the Chinese and Japanese class or sports activities for international students and their families?

Director of the International Student Center: Please remember that there are
special teachers for international students in each faculty. We have tried and are trying to make the network more efficient. And regarding the Japanese language class for students’ family, if it is possible for us to overcome the budget problem, we will try our best to implement it under a new corporate body.

Head of the International Division (Prof. Ninomiya): To reserve the place, please register your group as an association so that you could apply to use the facility.

I : We’ve already done that. But because there are some events of sports clubs, it is difficult to reserve the same place regularly.

Head of the International Division (Prof. Ninomiya): It’s difficult to realize that problem.

President: Is there any other way to solve this problem?

J : Some of my friends who wanted to move into Ikenouke Gakusei Shukusha had a serious
problem of moving in and out. They had to move out from the International House on the 31st of March but they could move into the Ikenouke Gakusei Shukusha on the 1st of April. Therefore, there was no place for them to stay one night

President: Ah, I didn’t notice that. It is really a problem. I will try to solve that problem.

K : When we want to sit for the test of driving license in English, we have to go to the License Center at Istukaichi. Could you make some arrangement, if possible, to do the English version test in Higashihiroshima?

President: I will ask about that from the Head of Saijo Police Station.

K : And the procedure of extension of VISA is also troublesome. Is it possible for us to do it in a branch of Immigration Office in the campus?

President: I suppose, it is difficult to make a branch. I will research if we could submit all documents together through the Hiroshima University.

L : Regarding insurance, I confuse that there are too many insurances that we are demanded to enter in addition to the National Health Insurance. It is very costly.

President: When you move in an apartment, you must enter the fire insurance. Whether you enter into another health insurance depend on you.

Head of the International Division (Prof. Ninomiya): If you enter an insurance, the advantage is for you.

M : We are perplexed by the culture of labs here. Of course, we try to do our best, because we came here for research. But at the same time, we have our life. Although we have a family, we are demanded to stay at lab from morning till late at night. There are some people who just play games and talk. I think they just waste the money of the university. I want to request professors not to evaluate students on the time they stay in Lab, but on only our research outcome.

Head of the International Division(Prof. Ninomiya): Oh, we must solve the problem of harassment like that which let you leave your family and demand you to do overwork. We could use the system we have, to solve these problems.

President: The Director of International Student Center suggested holding more meetings like this. I hope to join these kinds of meetings again Thank you very much.