Kyoto Spring Program 2021 — Connecting students from around the world with Kyoto University

The Kyoto Spring Program 2021 was held online from 14 to 24 February. Six students (four from Heidelberg University and two from University of Vienna) from Europe have participated in this event.

Usually, this seasonal program organized by the Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (ILAS) takes place in Kyoto as Kyoto Summer Program. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, ILAS brought the program forward to spring and chose to conduct it online. Since 2018, some slots are reserved through Kyoto University European Center’s cooperation efforts. For the first time, we have got  two supplementary reservations for the University of Vienna — one of our strategic partner university.

While there were some advantages to the online format, such as the travel cost elimination, new challenges arose. Since participants were spread from North America, Asia to Europe, the schedule had to be divided into two shifts — A and B — to adjust to the time difference. The European group was initially assigned to the B shift. However, they were able to participate in some of the activities on the A shift. A few very motivated students used this opportunity extensively: The office reported, “I think XX-san was in every class”.

Kyoto University also offered “Lab visits” upon requests by participants for the first time. Faculty members from the Graduate School of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Energy Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Letters and the Department of Sociology introduced their research online and engaged in lively question and answer sessions with the participants. The event was well received by the students, who got insight into latest research results. Some expressed their interest in studying and doing research at Kyoto University.

It has been about a year since many aspects of life — including classes — went online. The students seemed to be well versed in moving in virtual space and effectively used various tools for interacting with each other. Thus, at the farewell party on the last day, there was a constant chorus of students saying goodbye. 

Kyoto University students participated in the Kyoto Spring Program 2021 as support staff played major roles in the event. They prepared various cultural events such as origami workshop and tea ceremony. They were in close contact with students from overseas to entertain and support them. This shows the high degree of internationalization of our students, which is also one of the Kyoto University European Center’s mission.

Through the support of the Kyoto Summer/Spring Program, our office will continue to contribute to the internationalization of Kyoto University students as well as the visibility of Kyoto University among European students.

Further information is available here.