Manufacturing and Value Creation Seminar I in Austria
The nine first-year students visited the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (hereinafter called BOKU), a partner university of Shinshu University, for the "Manufacturing and Value Creation Seminar I" from May 16 to 25, 2015.
The program students gave three group presentations to introduce Japan followed by their individual scientific presentations. Group presentation titles were as follows:
"Sushi - from a Japanese tradition to an international fashion food" (presenters: Mami Kurosawa, Phan Duy Nam, Haruka Minato);
"Green tea - types and traditions" (Shintaro Kurosawa, Jiaping Zhang, Tomoki Nagaishi);
"From baby to PhD - the education system in Japan" (Hanaa Naouma, Rina Afiani Rebia, Atsuro Ohyama).
According to the Sushi Team, it was during the Edo period (1603-1868) when sushi transformed into what we know as "sushi" now, a fast food, from a way for food preservation. The Green-Tea Team not only introduced the history and the intricate manners of Japanese tea ceremony but performed a tea ceremony along with a green tea chocolate giveaway, which was a big success to grab attention from everyone at BOKU. Their presentation gave BOKU students a chance to experience our culture. The Education Team's topic was somewhat serious, however, the top presenter Mr. Ohyama managed to get some laughs from the audience and the rest of the team continued to introduce the education system in Japan from the perspective of an international student.
The individual presentation was more difficult for our students. They had a hard time especially at Q&A sessions, it was not easy for most of them to understand what they were being asked and to ask questions after BOKU's individual presentations. Through this experience, they found that they need to not only brush up their English skills but also make an effort to break through their shyness.
There is one more thing about the workshop. BOKU participants knocked on a table instead of clapping hands after a presentation by other students. It was new to us and we thought they were booing, telling the speaker his/her presentation was not good. Then we realized it was actually applause. It was one of the moments when we were exposed to a different culture.
It was a positive experience for our students to interact with BOKU students who were a group of 12 different nationalities and to have a new circle of friends, not to mention getting know other Leading Program students better by traveling together.
Visiting sustainable business sites was also a focus of this trip and we visited two manufacturing plants. One of them was a pulp and paper company Sappi Limited and we went to their Gratkorn Mill which is a coated fine paper production site. The other one was Lenzing AG, the world biggest production of cellulose-based fiber such as modal and viscose. After the factory tours, our students became aware that they should consider how much potential damage their research could do to the environment and they need to try to minimize this impact.
The first morning in Vienna, we woke to the sound of birds singing (they were literally singing!) was another thing to tell us this place was the city of music indeed. The open feeling on a double-decker bus was incredible when we were out for a city tour with Nora, a brilliant student at BOKU. Historical buildings were everywhere in Vienna, the city was surrounded by the history and it was as if the whole city was one big museum. It took our breath away at first but after a few days being there, that special scenery became less special as we got used to it. Maybe we Japanese appreciate historical buildings in a modern city like Kyoto.