Online Exchange Events for International Students with Ohnan Town

公開日 2021年12月28日

The International Center held online events with Shimane University international students and residents of Ohnan Town on two different days. This exchange project is called “Let’s Build a Bridge between Shimane’s Rural Community in Ohnan and the World!” Exchanges with Ohnan Town have been implemented since 2010, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, events were held online. This year, the project was split up into Day 1, exchange with Ohnan Town Volunteer Interpreting Guides, and Day 2, exchange with Ohnan Town’s Iwami Higashi Elementary School students.


Day 1 occurred on September 18th. Seven international students and nine Volunteer Interpreting Guides from Ohnan Town Local Tourism participated. The themes of this event were education and social welfare. Participants broke up into two groups: Japanese-speaking and English-speaking groups.

While talking about education, students asked questions about how school education has changed due to COVID-19 and cultural learning experiences in schools. Students were surprised to hear that at one of the schools an interpreting guide worked at, there are only eighteen students. As for social welfare, there was talk about goalball, a sport Ohnan Town strongly supports, and through this the international students became interested in this Paralympic sport. The following free talk session was a chance for students to learn more about Ohnan, such as the Japanese Giant Salamander and traditional events in the town.


Day 2 commenced on September 22nd. Five international students from three different countries, two Japanese student volunteers, and twenty-five school children from Iwami Higashi Elementary School participated. This exchange was in quiz format, and the international students and elementary school students each prepared quizzes for their online counterparts. One Korean student’s question was, “What food do Koreans always eat on their birthday?” The answer? Seaweed (wakame) soup. Many of the children were very surprised. The elementary school students presented their quizzes in English encompassing all of Ohnan, asking questions about the town’s population, local sweets and more. At this event, Japanese students from Shimane University offered interpreting support and the exchange event turned out to be a big success.


At both events, many of the international students who participated said that they got to know a lot about Ohnan and that they want to visit sometime in the future.


International students who are studying online and have not arrived in Japan also participated in these events. Through offering this kind of opportunity to students with restricted movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shimane University was able to open up new possibilities like these online exchange events. The university will use exchanges like these to the best of its ability to promote the university’s and the local region’s further globalization now and in the future.