On April 15 and 22, 2023, 20 students from the School of Engineering, School of Global and Community Studies, and Graduate School of Engineering of University of Fukui participated in joint discussions via Zoom meetings with about 30 students from Clemson University (South Carolina, USA), one of our academic exchange partners.
Since the first academic exchange agreement was concluded in 2003, Clemson University and University of Fukui have continued to collaborate in education and research mainly through student and faculty exchanges. In 2022, the two institutions concluded a student exchange agreement that includes Virtual Exchange (VE), a credit exchange system based on online classes, with the aim of providing diverse learning opportunities in the With Covid-19 era. This joint discussion was conducted as a VE pilot project, and was made possible by an invitation to “Exploring Environmental Science” by Dr. Minory Nammouz of Clemson University.
Prior to the joint discussion, the participating students from UF held a prep session on April 3 to practice self-introductions, and conducted their own research on the environmental issues that would be the theme of the joint discussion. Many of the participants, who were speaking English for the first time with foreign students, seemed nervous, but in small group discussions of about 10 people, they presented what they had prepared and asked each other questions about environmental issues and efforts in the U.S. and Japan.
Through the two-day joint discussion, the participating students from UF were able to experience the difficulty of expressing their own opinions in English and the joy of conveying what they wanted to say. We believe that this experience will lead the participating students to further their academic aspirations and interest in international exchange. We will continue to provide opportunities for students to express themselves and grow beyond the boundaries of universities and countries and beyond the barrier in space and time reaching 13-hour time difference.