UNIMAS – Utsunomiya University EduTour Programme
The closing ceremony of the EduTour Programme for Utsunomiya University, Japan, was held recently at the Experimental Theatre, Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts UNIMAS. This programme was organized by the Faculty of Language and Communication (FLC) as a final farewell and celebration of Utsunomiya University (UU) students’ achievement during their two-week programme. During this event, 20 UU undergraduates who participated in the programme received certificates marking their successful completion of the EduTour Programme which started on 8 February 2018. The certificates were presented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International) Professor Dr. Wan Hashim Wan Ibrahim.
UU chose to collaborate with UNIMAS in carrying out their Challenge, Change, and Contribution programme. Thus, the EduTour Programme was specially designed by FLC to meet the requirements of UU. The two-week programme aimed to provide unique and meaningful opportunities for the UU students to experience the culture of Sarawak, UNIMAS campus, and improve students’ English language skills. The 20 Japanese participants came from UU’s Faculty of Agriculture, International Studies, Regional Design, and Education. They were accompanied by their instructors- Associate Professor Dr Akiko Iizuka, Dr Takashi Izuha, and Ms Yukie Yamamoto.
During the programme, the UU participants completed 30 hours of English classes focusing on communicative and academic skills. The topics covered include communicating with peers, understanding diverse cultures, navigating university life, and the participants spent a morning at Samajaya Nature Reserve learning about the flora of Sarawak, and later discussing efforts to make UNIMAS a more ‘eco-friendly campus’. Their lessons culminated in oral presentations demonstrating their ability to use the English language with confidence.
The participants also had an array of valuable cultural experiences, including an overnight stay at Sarawak Cultural Village and visits to destinations such as Kuching’s Waterfront, Brooke Gallery, Darul Hana Bridge, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Jong’s Crocodile Farm, and local markets. During the recent Chinese New Year, they had a feel of an open house celebration and later visited a fruit orchard where they were introduced to local fruit trees and tasted fresh fruits. The participants also had multiple shopping excursions and tasted various local delicacies. In addition, during their two weeks stay on UNIMAS campus, their evening time were filled with various activities including kayaking at the UNIMAS lake and playing sports with UNIMAS students at the campus sports center.
As the closing ceremony marked the end of the EduTour Programme, it also highlighted the cultural exchange and developing partnership between Utsunomiya University and UNIMAS. Students and buddies participated in traditional performances of music, dance, and poetry, showcasing their English proficiency and appreciation of the diversity of cultures. Two of the UU representatives, Ms Rino Akutsu and Ms Haruna Murata, also delivered a heartwarming speech expressing their gratitude towards the Faculty of Language and Communication and UNIMAS, and emphasizing the valuable experiences that they had during their stay.
In his speech during the closing ceremony, the Dean of Faculty of Language and Communication, Professor Dr. Ambigapathy Pandian thanked the UNIMAS buddies who volunteered their time and energy towards the programme. The buddies played a crucial role in facilitating communication with the Utsunomiya students. They also acted as teaching assistants during the English lessons and helped with the outings.
The FLC Dean’s speech ended with a special thanks to the coordinator of the EduTour Programme- Associate Professor Dr Souba Rethinasamy, her dedicated team members consisting of Ms Ivy Rigar, Ms Katelyn Dawn Kundrata, Ms Liyana Rosli, Ms Nurul Huzaimah Mr Damien Mikeng, and FLC’s support staff in ensuring the smooth running of the programme.
Souba Rethinasamy, Katelyn Dawn Kundrata, Damien Mikeng, Liyana Rosli, Nurul Huzaimah &Ivy Rigar,
Faculty of Language and Communication
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak