On 31 March 2022 ALYTAUS KOLEGIJA/University of Applied Sciences (AK) in cooperation with Japanese partner Kanagawa University held an Online Language Exchange meeting. The first of its kind initiative in AK hosted 23 students from different nationalities: Japanese, Turkish, Tajik, and Lithuanians.
The programme started with a warm welcome by the representative heads of international offices from both universities, followed by several presentations from the students. The presentations were given in English and served as a great source of linguistic, cultural, geographical, and historical information. Participants got valuable insights about each university, the programmes taught as well as students’ life on campus and around it. It was surprising to see the great development of the campuses of Kanagawa University and hostel, which presented a truly inspiring combination of architecture, peace, and comfort. On the other hand, students from AK developed well-thought presentations picturing the naturally beautiful and peaceful student life in AK in the lush greenery and ample place of Alytus for focused self-studies.
The interactive part through lively chats in virtual rooms was even more so enriching. Students and staff of universities had the possibility to develop discussions about specific topics of their interest and get their questions answered based on practical experience. It was interesting to hear that the young generation in Japan has similar interests to Lithuanians, can share unique ideas, and is well versed in English.
This was also proved by the questionnaire conducted after the program, where the majority of the participants agreed it was “fun” or “very fun” to be part of this intercultural language exchange programme. Students from Kanagawa University commented, “I learned the importance of actively speaking and communicating my thoughts.” And “I was able to get to know the culture of Lithuania well.” AK student noted: “At first, the participants were shy in the group talk, but they gradually deepened their exchanges.”
This shows that intercultural communication events are of immense value when bringing different cultures together, fostering respectful communication and mutual understanding as well as deepening better understanding of such a diverse global world and opportunities.
It is therefore believed that with the reduction of the unfortunate Covid-19 situation, such cross-cultural events will take place more often in the coming years and both the institutions will put even more effort to organize such events several times a year when the possibility arises.
AK would like to extend its’ deepest appreciation to Kanagawa University for all the time, efforts, and thoughts put into organizing this programme and highly recommends all students from AK to use this unique possibility to study in Japan under the Erasmus+ exchange programme.