Okayama University


ASEAN-Japan Virtual Cultural Exchange Programme 2022 Held Online

March 11, 2022

From March 1 to 3, students from member universities in the ASEAN University Network (AUN) and the Consortium of Six National Universities in Japan participated in an online international exchange program called “ASEAN-Japan Virtual Cultural Exchange Programme 2022”. The program was held with an aim to help students improve their communication skills and deepen their understanding of different cultures through various activities and was organized by the Six National Universities International Education, Research System (SixERS), led by Okayama University Vice President for International Affairs SUZUKI Takayoshi, in collaboration with the Consortium of Six National Universities in Japan (Chiba University, Niigata University, Kanazawa University, Okayama University, Nagasaki University, and Kumamoto University) and AUN. A total of 64 students participated in the program, including Chok Jia Xuan, a first-year student enrolled in Okayama University’s Global Discovery Program.

At the opening ceremony on March 1, AUN Executive Director Choltis Dhirathiti and Okayama University Vice President Suzuki welcomed the students, saying “Over the next three days, we encourage you to make the most of the opportunity to interact with students from different countries and with backgrounds that may be different to yours. Please seek to understand and respect each other as you think decisively about various topics and actively participate in activities. We hope that this program, starting today, will give you the chance to consider national identities, multicultural coexistence, and sustainable development and give you the chance to deepen friendships through inter-cultural exchange.”

During the program, student attended lectures by experts in the field of cultural diversity, participated in virtual museum tours and treasure hunts on Gather.Town (a web-conferencing platform that allows users to communicate using avatars), broke into five groups and made presentations on sightseeing spots in Southeast Asian countries, and attended a workshop on how to make a traditional Thai handicraft called Pla Ta Pian (a fish-shaped hanging mobile).

Thanks to the partnership between AUN and SixERS, both consortiums have been able to successfully hold summer and spring programs encouraging student exchange, as well as academic seminars. In the future, we hope to continue promoting student and research exchange opportunities with other partner universities.

○Comment by Chok Jia Xuan:
To me, those 3 days were absolutely eye-opening, fun, and invigorating. I was so immersed in the program that I completely lost track of time. The program has taught me so much about different ASEAN cultures in its own interesting and interactive ways (e.g., the ASEAN virtual museum tour, virtual cross-cultural dinner, and the weaving workshop for Pla Ta Pian (Thai fish mobile)). The AUN crew was super helpful, energetic, and friendly; their positive energy created a comfortable and relaxing space for me to enjoy the program. The participants of the program were also incredibly active and approachable. My favorite part of the event was getting to meet, talk to, and work with new people from so many different countries. I was honestly so surprised to find myself loving an online exchange program so much. Not to exaggerate, but this program was without a doubt the best online event I’ve ever attended so far.

○ Consortium of Six National Universities in Japan
The Six National Universities Consortium was established in March 2013 to facilitate cooperation between institutions while allowing them to maintain their independence and self-reliance. Their shared goals include improving education, advancing academic research, increasing social contribution and promoting the development of human capital who will be capable of leading our rapidly globalizing society.
Six National Universities International Education, Research SystemSix National Universities International Education, Research System (International Collaboration Division of the Consortium of Six National Universities in Japan) was established to promote international exchange and cooperation activities. Okayama University Vice President for International Affairs SUZUKI Takayoshi leads the division.

○ASEAN University Network (AUN)
AUN is an international university association that was conceived at the fourth Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in 1992 and officially established in 1995. Currently, the network comprises 30 influential universities from across Asia. The Consortium of Six National Universities entered into a partnership agreement with the ASEAN University Network in 2013 to promote student exchange and university internationalization.