Report of the International Exchange Meeting,
organized by the International Student Center.

Date: May 27, 2004 (Thursday) at 16:35-18:00
Place: Faculty Club, 2nd Floor, Reception Room

Participants: International students and researchers/faculty members from overseas (65 persons), Japanese students (10 persons), teachers and staff at the International Student Center (6 persons), teachers in charge of international students at each Faculty (2 persons), staff of the International Student Group (4 persons), and the Head of International@Division

1. Welcome Speech by the Director of the International Student Center (Prof. Tawata)
He explained the purpose of the establishment of the International Exchange Meeting.

"One is exchanging information among students and the university staff. Second is building network among us.
Regarding the exchanging of information, we would like you to use this meeting as an opportunity for exchanging information among international students and between foreign students and Japanese students, and students and University staff.
Regarding the building Network, we would like you to build a systematic and effective network among us all, not only among students, but also between the staff of the International Student Center and the special staff for international students in each Faculty. Up to now we have made some effort to build that relationship. But we want to expand that network based on this meeting.
I wish and hope this meeting will be a very fruitful one."


2. Report of the meeting with the President of Hiroshima University and processes after this meeting

<By Assistant Prof. Nakaya, International Student Center>
1) Report of the meeting with the President of Hiroshima University
2) Effort to solve the problems that were raised by International Students in the previous meeting

gFirst, International Student Center is holding this meeting for exchanging useful information about student activities among foreign students, Japanese students and University staff. Second, we have done a survey of the needs of Japanese class for the student's family, and now we are discussing on that subject.h

<By the Head of the International Division >
Prof. Ninomiya reported on what he has done so far regarding the problems raised in the meeting. First was about academic harassment in which students were forced to stay in the lab till night by their academic advisors. He mentioned that the staff of International Students Group was going to research about "Faculty Development" (training of academic staff) on Academic Harassment. Based on the result, he would propose to implement it in each faculty.
Second was about applying students' visa. He said that international students would be able to apply for the extension of visa through the International Students Group as proxy of students.
But only the students who live in Higashi Hiroshima could apply for that. Third was about Information in English. He mentioned that he had just attended the meeting regarding the University Web Site. In that meeting it was decided to create a revised English version of the University Web.

3. Reports by international Students' Associations - Homepage and Activities
Association of Chinese Students explained many kinds of their activities, such as organizing festivals, trips, Chinese language classes for their family, building network with many organizations and the homepage. Their homepage address is
http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/acshu/
Indonesian group explained their activities such as introduction of their culture in the local community and activities for raising funds for children's scholarships in Indonesia. Their homepage address is
http://beasiswa_ppihiro.tripod.com/
Egyptian group also introduced their homepage. Their homepage address is
http://www.esaj.net
Which provides all necessary information regarding studying in Japan.

4. Group discussions in three topics
The aim of discussions was exchanging positive ideas for their own action and positive suggestions not only for the welfare of the University but also for Japanese and foreign students.
There were three topics. One was about "Student activities and environment of research rooms/laboratories", and one was "Learning languages including Japanese for foreign students and English for Japanese students", and the other was "Students' activities". Three groups discussed on these topics in Japanese while the other three groups discussed on the same topics in English. All participants formed groups according to their interest in the topic.
Group Discussions
<Students' Activities in English> Memo by Fujita, a Japanese student
The main issue was on the activities of the IAHU club in the campus. In the club, Japanese students and International students engage in many kinds of activities, such as meeting every week regularly, going on trips, organizing parties etc. There were many questions about the club.
(The club' s homepage is
http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~u1321516/iahu/)
And each student talked about their own activities after class, such as having dinner with their friends and going to IZAKAYA. The International Student Center introduced a list of international exchange activities in elementary and junior high schools. (The information is noticed on the bulletin board of International Student Center)
<Learning Languages, English group> Memo by Prof. Fukami.
One issue was about a Japanese class for international students' family in the campus. It was mentioned that some universities had set up some classes, but the Hiroshima University had not. And some universities also facilitated the international students' children to be admitted in the childcare centers.
Another issue was about learning Chinese and English. One Japanese student said that she wanted to study Chinese and English. Then, Chinese student proposed that she could introduce a Chinese who could speak English, for Japanese students. One student suggested that they could study Chinese in the International Student House. (But the class is for the Chinese students' family by Chinese Student Association. So they are not sure if the Japanesecould attend or not)
One suggestion for studying English was to study easy English. Regarding going to China to study Chinese, one suggestion was going with a Chinese friend and staying there for some time. Another advice was going to Malaysia, because one could study both Chinese and English there.
ƒStudents' Activities, Japanese group„ Memo by Japanese student (Oonishi)
The main issue was the way of making friends. One student mentioned that there were some students who could not meet even 10 people in a day when they stayed in the laboratories and they felt isolated. An Indonesian student introduced how to make acquaintance with people and that they usually associated with other students' family. One student introduced their recent activity between IYAHU club and Chinese Students' Association. He pointed that it was a very effective and efficient way of making friends between one group and another group. But still there were problems, if there was only one person from a country, and how he/she could make friends.
Another issue was about the International Student Center. The students do not seem to understand about the function of the Center. And one student pointed out that there were a few Chinese who belonged to the International Student Center. One mentioned that he wanted to make a free meeting place.
And one student mentioned that English was also very important for their life and study in Japan. So he asked International Student Center to introduce them not only Japanese but also English conversation partner.
ƒLearning Languages, Japanese group„ Memo by Prof. Tamura
The main issue was on the importance of English. One mentioned that in Japan English was important for the Entrance Examination for Universities. The Chinese students explained about the situation of their country with regard to English. They also study English from junior high school to the university, but they still couldnft use it well. Now there are some foreigners to teach English in the school. A Malaysian student explained on their situation regarding English. In Malaysia, they use English and Malay, and Chinese from childhood. The conclusion was that the most important thing was on the purpose of learning a foreign language and its use.
ƒEnvironment of the Laboratories and Room, Japanese group„ Memo by Prof. Tamaoka
One issue was about the differentiation of the environment of the laboratories between the field of Social Science and that of Science. In the field of science students have access to all facilities and all master course students have their own tables while in the field of Social Science, even doctoral course students sometimes do not have their own tables. They said that they needed better facilities, at least their own table like the students in the field of Science have. Some of them complained of the big gap between them, because they also paid the same tuition. But regarding the human relationship in the laboratories, the students of the field of Social Science told that they had much better human relationship than that of the Field of Science. They also realized that because the graduate students in the Social Science were researching on society and culture including human beings, they could communicate with other students and help each other.
Second issue was about the isolated situation of the international students in the laboratories. International students felt that the Japanese students of the field of Science were very busy and seemed that they had hardly any time to take care of the international students, because they had been always busy with their experiments. And in the laboratory where there is only one international student, she/he tends to be isolated. There are certain instances (like better mood) when they have to stay for a long time. Japanese students often stay at their laboratory from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm while the international students feel difficult to adapt to that way of studying. According to the formal rule, the time of studying is until six o'clock, but only few Japanese students go back at that time. Therefore, international students also stay until seven or nine o'clock. Japanese students seem that they are not interested in what the international students need. And the international students do not ask what they do not understand from the Japanese students because of their reluctance.
Third issue was about the atmosphere in the laboratory. They mentioned that if there were many international students in the laboratory, the atmosphere was much better. For example, they could express their opinions and manage the time of study freely, communicate in a friendly way and therefore, there was no tension among them. In the field of Science, the language they use in the classes, discussions, and articles is almost English. Chinese students who are the majority of the international students also understand and admit that English is recognized as the world academic language.

Note: After the meeting, about 380 articles of clothing (free of charge; mostly women's) were distributed among international students. These clothes had been provided by Living Jigyo-sya.

If you have some suggestions for the next meeting, please send me e-mails. (Assistant Prof. Ayami NAKAYA , anakaya@hiroshima-u.ac.jp)
Thank you very much, and hope to see you again!

The writer is Assistant Professor Ayami NAKAYA