In between 6 August and 17 September 2014, UTAR Perak Campus played host to Japanese students from four universities in Japan, namely, Josai International University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Toyama University and Josai University.
The first batch of Japanese students arrived on 6 August from Josai International University, followed by the second batch on 16 August from Kwansei Gakuin University, the third batch on 17 August from Toyama University and the fourth batch on 3 September from Josai University.
Students from Josai International University, Toyama University and Josai University came for the two-week English Immersion Programme organised by UTAR Centre for Extension Education (CEE). The programme focused primarily on the teaching of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English to the Japanese students. They also engaged in fun and stimulating activities such as cultural performances and tours to Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Pangkor and Kuala Lumpur.
“Before coming to UTAR, I was very shy to converse in English,” said Arata Sodeno, a chemistry undergraduate from Toyama University. He added, “However, the English Immersion Programme has boosted my proficiency and confidence in using the language. I want to thank UTAR lecturers and helpers for being so patient in guiding me through this enriching learning curve.” English lessons for the Japanese students were conducted by lecturers from UTAR Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS).
Sharing Arata’s sentiments was Ayumi Kikuchi, a postgraduate student from Josai University. She said, “My supervisor encouraged me to take part in this programme after listening about its benefits from my juniors. They said that this programme has helped to improve their command in English. I am glad that this programme also exposed me to the multicultural elements in Malaysia.” Ayumi then expressed her penchant for Malaysian food and the likeliness of her visiting Malaysia again in the future.
Meanwhile, students from Kwansei Gakuin University came for a ten-day study tour which was also conducted by CEE. The tour, which introduced participants to the lifestyle and communities in Malaysia, comprised field trips to Jeram New Village in Kampar, TEKUN National Office in Ipoh, GIATMARA Training Centre in Kampung Gajah, Farmer’s Organisation Authority Office in Langkap, charcoal factory in Taiping and Murata Electronics office in Batu Gajah.
The English Immersion Programme was organised for the first time in 2012 and has since attracted participants from Josai University, Josai International University, Mokpo University and Toyama University. The study tour for Kwansei Gakuin University was the first of its kind in UTAR.