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Reports on the Global Praxis 2015 S semester / S2 term.

Italy

Global Praxis: Learning the Italian Language and Italian Culture    Hiroki Yoshimura (LI)
     In August 2015, 16 students from the University of Tokyo, including myself, studied in Italy. We participated in a course held by our university which was about Italian language and culture. I had two motives for participating. The first was that I wanted to know how capable I was in using the Italian language I had been studying for one and a half years. The other was that I had a strong desire to go abroad because I had never been to a foreign country, and I wanted to go to a foreign country where I could make myself understood in the local language even if it would be so on a very small scale.
     In Italy, I not only studied the language but also directly experienced a culture, very different from Japan. As a result, I was able to widen my perspective and becom more international. I am grateful to have received such an opportunity, and I will report below my impressions of the study there and the places where I visited.
     Italy is divided into three parts: north, central, and south. Umbria is located in the middle of central Italy, and we stayed in its capital Perugia.
     We attended the University for foreigners of Perugia for a month. All new students had to take a test before the beginning of the lessons, and then were divided into six classes according to the result. I was admitted to class B2, which is the third from top class. But since I was only given the written examination although the test usually consisted of a written and oral one, I think I was examined perfunctorily.
     The lessons were composed of grammar, oral exercise, listening, and study of Italian culture. I struggled most in the oral exercise. In the class, the professor would pose a theme to discuss and the students would discuss it with the professor. I was very impressed that every student, especially the ones from Europe, would state their own opinions based on clear evidence. I have heard that they had been educated to do so voluntarily since they were a child, but when I actually debated with them, I was overwhelmed and often got knocked out of the debate. I most deeply regret the time when we talked about nuclear power. I was born in Hiroshima, so I felt a strong sense of responsibility to take an active part in the discussion, as a man from a city which has been atom-bombed and also as a man from the country where a nuclear plant accident occurred. I tried to express my own opinion to the professor and other students and develop the discussion, but I was at a loss for words in only a few minutes and eventually was repeating “Si. (Exactly.)”.
     I regret that in Japan I did not practice expressing my own view in Italian. In addition, when I was studying Italian in Japan, I tended to attach a greater importance on the grammar over vocabulary. In retrospect, it would be more beneficial to have studied a vocabulary book before going to Italy.
     Well anyway, staying in a foreign country is a pleasant and very interesting way to study a local language. If you go shopping at a supermarket, you can learn tons of new nouns, and if you talk with professors, students, and people in a town, you can get a perfect opportunity to practice the conjugation of verbs. If you go to a church, you can read the history of the language, which leads to modern Italian, and if you go to a soccer stadium, you can hear many parolacce (slangs) flying back and forth, which you will not find in any textbooks sold in Japan. You can hardly forget the words that you have collected with your five senses. When I was not able to make myself understood to a friend, I looked up words meaning precisely what I wanted to say. I was very happy when my friend smiled when I used the words that I had looked up in the dictionary. In contrast, I was deeply disappointed when I had no choice but to communicate in English because of not being capable to understand the Italian used.
     On the weekends, I went out to the center of the town, the suburbs of Perugia, and to sightseeing spots in Umbria. Perugia has a very long history. Right next to the university there is a huge gate constructed by Etruscans in the third century B.C. In the old center of the town, there remains many solemn churches. A lot of tourists come to Perugia in order to visit them. We went on a day tour prepared by the university to Assisi, famous asa sacred place for pilgrimage. The most impressive place for me was Lake Trasimeno located in the west of Perugia. I went there on a day trip alone for various reasons, and I realized my maturity a little after I went through many thrilling experiences. I feel sorry that I cannot mention the details because of the limited space.
     In the end, I want to say thank you to Prof. Muramatsu, Prof. Hyuga, Prof. Sawayanagi, and Prof. Farinelli of the University for Foreigners of Perugia who made careful preparations for this global praxis. Also, I want to thank my parents for helping me with the expenses and my friends both in Japan and in Italy for helping me have a wonderful time on this one-month journey.

イタリア吉村さん1E

イタリア吉村さん2E

Global Praxis: Learning the Italian language and Italian Culture    Tatsumi Yoshida (SII)
     Through this program in Italy I learned not only language, but also many other things. Through the experiences of daily life and activities, I was able to think about the composition of cities and culture. It was my first time to go abroad and I feel this program will significantly influence my future and way of thinking.
     During the trips to various cities, I noticed that there were differences in the composition of many cities. In mid-Italy where Perugia lies there are many mountains and hills, and it leads to long distances between cities and there were only few houses between cities. Some cities were divided in two parts: modern and high buildings were concentrated at the foot of a mountain or hill, but old and historical ones were concentrated at the top part. However, these characteristics disappeared heading north or in large cities, and boundaries between cities would be vague. For example, in Bologna modern buildings or large parks were outside the remains of the castle walls and buildings with a traditional look were inside. On the other hand, in Milano the design and color of buildings lacked unity and you could not notice the difference between buildings outside and inside the remains of the wall. Also, people and foods become multinational going north and in large cities
     By the way, globalization is one of the most important words in recent years, but should we accept it so easily? Growing globalization will cause a fusion between societies in terms of race, culture and thought, and this fusion might lead to the instability of complex social system. This fusion is seen also in the change of the composition of the cities I mentioned above. A city which runs into another city seems to lack unity and be distorted because its boundaries change and waver constantly.
     Those who belong to the international community like university often take a positive position towards globalization unconsciously. A global point of view is necessary now, and we should think about globalization critically. Learning foreign languages or studying abroad leads not only to mutual understanding, but also to sympathy between people, and promotes fusion and stability of society. The overseas program is good opportunity to come in deep contact with different societies, and I hope that many people will participate in such programs.

Germany

Current Situation of the EU and its Problems:What we can learn from EU about regional integration
R.S. (LIII)
     From August 2nd to 12th, we stayed in Otzenhausen, a place not far from Luxembourg and Belgium. We also visited 4 places: Bonn, Brussels, Luxembourg, and Trier, which house various EU-related institutions. We listened to lectures by university professors and EU officials, and we actively participated in workshops related to the topics of the lectures. Many of the activities were devised to relate to the program's theme: “Regional Integration and Cooperation – The EU and East Asia in 2015”. The lectures covered a wide range of subjects, such as politics, economics, environment and law, which provided us with a multilateral perspective on the EU.
     During the program, we had the opportunity to interact with graduate students from Ewha University of Korea and students from Ghent University of Belgium. Through many activities done at the workshops and lectures as well as during free time, we deepened friendships with these students. When we went on excursions to the 4 places, we also had cultural experiences by viewing historical buildings and enjoying local food.
     Currently, the EU is facing many huge problems such as the economic crisis in Greece and refugees from Syria. Japan is a geographically isolated country and is on the opposite side of the Eurasia continent: therefore, as Japanese, we are only able to understand the existence of the EU conceptually and superficially. However, through the lectures, some of which are given at sites where actual EU activities take place, I realized that this project of regional integration is a massive accumulation of efforts in pursuit of peace and prosperity in response to the tragedy of the two world wars. My knowledge of the EU changed from just an organization in a textbook to something real.
     By engaging in talks with other participants, I gained experience beyond what I had expected. The participants were international. In addition to students from Korea and Belgium, there were some students from China, India, and Tanzania, each having different backgrounds. In spite of the diversity of the backgrounds, the total number of the participants was only 37, which was small enough to facilitate communication. Therefore, many different opinions and ideas were shared, and I was inspired in many ways. In addition, the participants spanned from college freshmen to graduate students, which gave me, a freshman, a good opportunity to learn from others’ rich views.
     Through the lectures by professors and EU officials, the visits and the exchange of ideas with others students, ESA has given me a deeper understanding of regional integration’s deep implications to various aspects of society. East Asia has different degree of shared values, different history and geopolitical conflicts from Europe. The visit made me think that the path to regional integration in East Asia will not be a simple “cut and paste” of the EU system. I feel that if it is to be realized, then it will probably be made gradually by the members forming common ideals, values and objectives, while making reference to the rich experiences and achievements made by European states.

ドイツ写真E

ドイツ写真E2

ドイツ写真E3

Greece and France

The Olympics in an Academic Perspective
Taiga Ida (SI), Yuta Kitaoka (LI), Hiroyuki Saegusa (LIII), Nanoko Sasaki (LIII),
Takuya Sato (SI), Yuna Tanaka (LII), Shohei Naito (SI), Takashi Noda (LI),
Lisse Hasegawa (LII), Takahiro Miura (SI), Masafumi Mori (SIII),
Ryutaro Yasui (LIII), Atsushi Yokoi (LII), Haruka Watanabe (LIII)
      The recently completed Global Praxis Course “The Olympics in an Academic Perspective,” was comprised of pre-departure lectures at the Komaba Campus, followed by field work in both France and Greece. During the pre-departure lectures, we learned about the ancient Olympics, the philosophy behind the games, Greek art featuring the Olympics, physical motions of various Olympic sporting events as well as the “restoration” of the Olympics and its development in modern times. From these lectures, we gained the knowledge necessary to think critically about an event which had previously seemed just a vague television broadcast. Through this course, we acquired knowledge of the intellectual background of Olympic Games, which otherwise we tend to regard as a mere international sporting event.
     From August 30th to September 9th we made a study trip to Greece and France. In Greece we visited various sites associated with the Olympics. We also attended a lecture by professor Karali-Giannakopoulou at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. We had a chance to run a race at Olympia in the Peloponnesus. Olympia is the place where the ancient Olympics were conducted, and where even today the ceremonial kindling of the Olympic flame every time the Olympic Games is held. We even had a chance to visit the town of Marathon, the birthplace of the marathon legend. Then we visited the grounds of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens and ran a race here as well. We also enjoyed a fruitful discussion with students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and students from other Greek universities.

古代オリンピア徒競走E

     The recently completed Global Praxis Course “The Olympics in an Academic Perspective,” was comprised of pre-departure lectures at the Komaba Campus, followed by field work in both France and Greece. During the pre-departure lectures, we learned about the ancient Olympics, the philosophy behind the games, Greek art featuring the Olympics, physical motions of various Olympic sporting events as well as the “restoration” of the Olympics and its development in modern times.
     From these lectures, we gained the knowledge necessary to think critically about an event which had previously seemed just a vague television broadcast. Through this course, we acquired knowledge of the intellectual background of Olympic Games, which otherwise we tend to regard as a mere international sporting event. From August 30th to September 9th we made a study trip to Greece and France. In Greece we visited various sites associated with the Olympics. We also attended a lecture by professor Karali-Giannakopoulou at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. We had a chance to run a race at Olympia in the Peloponnesus. Olympia is the place where the ancient Olympics were conducted, and where even today the ceremonial kindling of the Olympic flame every time the Olympic Games is held. We even had a chance to visit the town of Marathon, the birthplace of the marathon legend. Then we visited the grounds of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens and ran a race here as well. We also enjoyed a fruitful discussion with students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and students from other Greek universities.      Thanks to Masuo Nishihayashi, the ambassador to the Japanese Embassy in Athens, we were invited to a dinner party and discussion with members associated with the Greek Olympic Games. We were very lucky to be granted such a great opportunity, as we were able to meet Mr. Capralos, the president of the Greek Olympic committee, as well as Mr. Marsellos, who was a flag-bearer during the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics in 1964, and who ran the first stretch of the Olympic torch relay from Olympia that year.
     In France we visited the Louvre Museum and had a chance to see Greek sculptures. We had seen pictures during our lectures, but the power radiating from the actual sculptures was incredible and took our breath away. As hosting the Olympics is a way for the host country to share their culture with the world, and because Tokyo will be the host of the 2020 Olympics, we held a discussion with students from INALCO (the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations). We used Junichiro Tanizaki’s “In Praise of Shadows” and Japanese popular culture to discuss the simultaneous existence of ancient Japanese culture with new cultural trends. We were pleasantly surprised by how deeply the French students understood and appreciated Japanese culture.
     We learned a lot from this course. Through the courses we took at the Komaba campus, as well as our experiences in Greece and France, we came to understand the Olympics from an academic, liberal arts perspective. Also, while this doesn’t have much to do with the Olympics, this course taught us what is needed for an individual to be a global citizen. When we managed to speak even a small amount of Greek in Greece and French in France, the local people treated us with incredible kindness. When we used only English in conversation with local people we were treated as mere foreigners. But when we attempted even just to say hello in the local language, people opened up their hearts to us. This experience made us realize that globalization does not and should not mean the domination of the English language. We should never forget to respect the native languages of different countries and in turn the culture that lies behind it. We also learned that the most important thing about communicating with foreign people is to have your own opinion about various matters. This realization taught us the importance of using our time as university students to gain a good foundation of knowledge and become educated individuals. Since students from all different majors and courses were able to participate in this course, we all had a chance to share opinions with people with different points of view, and in doing so challenged ourselves and others intellectually.  
     Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to all of the professors who were involved in making this course possible, and in particular to Professor Sawayanagi, who both organized our classes and served as leader and guide during our time abroad, as well as to the many people we met in Greece and France.
   Thank you. Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ. Merci beaucoup.

古代オリンピア徒競走E

INALCO討論会E

アテネ懇親会E

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