First year students from the Faculty of Global Management at Chuo University and the East Asia Center at Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences teamed up in virtual teams during May 2021 to research and discuss pressing social and economic issues
A challenging, but rewarding intercultural experience
First year students from the Faculty of Global Management at Chuo University and the East Asia Center at Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences teamed up in virtual teams during May 2021 to research and discuss pressing social and economic issues. 20 students from the Introductory Seminars guided by Prof. YingYing Jiang and Prof. Franz Waldenberger and 32 students from the Prof. Frank Roevekamp’s Japanese Studies Course participated in this joint seminar. They formed mixed groups of five to seven students. Each group was given a topic to research with the task to summarize their findings in a brief report, prepare a presentation and also make a short video to promote their work. The topics covered very timely as well as controversial issues such as COVID-19, ageing societies, diversity, nuclear energy, climate change, fake news, cashless payments, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the future of mobility. It was very challenging for the students to organize themselves in such short time overcoming time differences, language barriers and cultural differences. But it turned to be a very rewarding experience.
Feedback statements from German students
It was great to work with the students of Chuo University on this project. It worked surprisingly well, especially considering factors such as language barriers, time difference and communication through zoom. I hope future students will also have the opportunity to work on projects like this one.
The joint seminar was the perfect opportunity to practice my intercultural communication skills and made for an interesting exchange of thougths. Being able to complete the journey from starting a conversation with our Japanese counterparts to effectively working with them was the most rewarding and important aspect of this group work.
It was a great experience to work with Japanese students, especially for those on the German side who have not been to Japan yet. I think the most interesting part was to see how Japanese people feel about the topics, given the fact that the cultural difference between Japan and Germany is huge, but often times we find common ground. Also, working culture/styles becomes quite apparent during this project, a good preparation for future collaborations.
All in all, I'd recommend being open-minded and motivated in order to truly take something from this.
The seminar was a really well-coordinated project to give us students the opportunity to get in contact with Japanese people and have a flourishing discussion about different kind of topics. Not only were we able to talk about our assignments, but we really got to know each other and shared experiences about student life in each our country. A great pilot-project and I would really enjoy having more opportunities like this in the future!
I was very excited when it was announced that we would be doing a joint seminar. Initial worries subsided as the project progressed and communication improved. All in all, the project was a very good opportunity to improve intercultural communication and a lot of fun despite initial difficulties.
The project with the Chuo University has been a great experience and furthermore an amazing way to practice communication and teamwork. Even though we have not met any of the Japanese students prior to the joint seminar as well as hardly knowing our fellow students because of online classes, the results were quite impressive. Hopefully more joint projects will be possible in the future.
First I was pretty sceptical about the group work concerning things like language barriers and differences between our cultures. But after two sessions I was just surprised of how good we´ve come along in our group. The project really helped to improve my communication and language skills. At the end of the day it was a great opportunity for all of us and everbody could gain some experience from the Chuo-EAI project.
Feedback statements from Chuo students
The joint seminar was a very challenging and enjoyable task that gave me confidence.
This was my first time interacting with foreign students, who are the same age as me. This seminar made me more motivated to study English from now on!
I learned a lot from the collaborative work with the German students. I was not very good at English, but I was impressed by the way that my German teammates helped me to understand. We were able to work together to create a single work of art, and it was a meaningful time for me.
It was the first time for me to work with students from overseas, so it was a tough experience, but I thought it also was a good lesson for me in the future.
I was surprised at the high level of the team members. As everybody gave their own opinion and suggestion on the case, the discussion was lively. I myself want to become able to do so, too. In addition, smooth communication requires one’s own command of English, so I want to improve my command of English as well.
Since my English-speaking ability was not very good, I was very anxious at first. However, the German students patiently listened to what I had to say, and we were able to overcome the language barrier and had a fruitful discussion. I would like to do it again if I have the chance.
Thank you for arranging such an interesting class for us. I am not good at English so I was very confused many times. But this international exchange has made me grow a little. Also, I could learn what to do when discussing with many people. Almost of all was a new experience for me, but it was exciting.
To coordinate with foreign students was my first time, so I was really nervous. However, thanks to German students, I was finally able to come up with an idea and talk about it. I'm really glad to have had this opportunity!
I got used to speak and listen to the English because a few months had passed since I had entered my university. But, students from Germany speak English very frequently, and I had difficulty catching what they were saying. However, I enjoyed the difference between Japan and Germany like how to use "emoji" in LINE, time difference, and difference in character. Sometimes we talked about "What time is it now in Germany?" and "What is popular in Japan?" which led us to know each other better.
It was my first experience to work on a project with foreign university students. Although we had some difficulties such as language barriers, I was able to enjoy working with them and deeply understand their culture through the seminar!
Working on a project with teammates from different backgrounds was a great experience as we were able to discuss not only our own topics but also each other's culture, which exposed me to different values.
We are not just making presentations, we are exercising communication skills, exchanging various opinions and experiencing the diversity of different countries. I think this is the meaning of doing a joint seminar in the Faculty of Global Management.
By putting myself in a situation where I could only speak English, I was able to make an effort to communicate in English and learn about the German culture.
This opportunity gave me a chance to learn about non-Japanese people’s perspectives. I learned so many things that I wouldn’t be able if I wasn’t in this joint seminar.
In this joint seminar, I especially learned how to interact with people who are from other countries and don’t speak the same language.
It is my first time to do group work with German students and a great experience. We talked about Tokyo Olympic Games. I have learned a lot from the joint seminar.
At first, I was a little bit concerned about communicating with other group participants and was afraid of making comments and giving my opinion actively. However, as the group work went on, I felt confident about my communication and participating skills, so I believe it was a very precious experience for me.
I appreciate that such an interesting seminar was organized. It was my first experience, so I was a bit nervous given the little information from the brief explanation about the course, but it was fun once the course started.
It was a really pleasant opportunity to work in a team with students with various backgrounds and also, it was a good timing that it was held in the beginning of university life, since this seminar let us understand what kind of ability we should gain through these four years at university!