Professor. NAGATOMO Ayako,
Director, Center for Japanology Studies of Wakayama University
Building upon the progress made by the former Center for International Education and Research and International Student Division, the International Relations Division of Wakayama University was reorganized in 2017，the Center for Japanology Studies (CJS) of Wakayama University was reorganized in 2022. The CJS’s main task is to accept international students. In order to support government-sponsored and exchange students with diverse learning needs and to help them achieve their learning objectives, we provide them with effective Japanese language and culture education. In addition, we also support their daily lives in order to mitigate anxieties due to differences in cross cultural environment, language and customs.
With respect to Japanese students, the CJS is also strongly committed to various programs that promote international understanding; these include exchange programs with partner universities, short-term overseas study programs, and co-educational programs conducted between Japanese and international students.
Wakayama is surrounded by mountains and the sea, with abundant nature and a long history. The language and cultural education we provide for international students is not limited to on-campus, classroom learning. It also includes off-campus activities designed to take advantage of the region’s cultural and natural resources. International students learn the language experientially outside the campus while also discovering the local culture of Wakayama. Such off-campus learning is possible through mutual trust between the university and the community and daily interaction between the two. Local volunteer groups support the lives of international students. Our long track record includes various initiatives in cooperation with local international exchange organizations and volunteer groups.
International students also cooperate in the activities of the personnel of local and prefectural government offices and interact with local children to contribute to the internationalization of the region. In addition, the CJS also focuses on collaborative activities with educational researchers. These include workshops and symposiums with faculty members of partner universities as well as domestic researchers.
The CJS is responsible for the mission of realizing the international strategy of Wakayama University. One of the major goals of our international strategy is to increase the number of international students and promote the internationalization of the campus. The number of international students has decreased due to the corona virus disaster. However, through the use of ICT, we have been able to continue to conduct to exchange education between Wakayama University and our partner universities. Namely, we have conducted student learning exchanges, Japanese language speech contests with the participation of overseas students, and international symposiums. Furthermore, in preparation for the for post-corona recovery, we are considering a project that will employ online, COIL-type classes at our university and partner universities to provide short-term Japanese culture training programs for students studying Japanese abroad.
The CJS is a small organization, but faculty members and staff work together to carry out various projects in line with the mission of promoting the internationalization of the university. I look forward to working with you in the future.