Tokyo Tech News
Students of Tokyo Tech's Academy for Global Leadership (AGL), Hitotsubashi University, and Tokyo Women's Christian University hosted a two-night three-day preparatory camp for students of Aomori High School and Ishinomaki High School from March 12 to 14. A total of 29 students from the northeast region of Japan made the journey to Tokyo for the event, the second of its kind.
Aiming to dismantle institutional and generational barriers, the camp creates a forum for high school students to interact with undergraduate and graduate-level students through lab tours and group discussions. It gives high schoolers a chance to take a break from their strenuous university examination preparations and experience the university atmosphere firsthand.
Tokyo Tech's graduate-level students kicked things off by introducing the basics of research to the visiting high school students. The young audience listened intently throughout, relishing the opportunity to learn from the knowledge of their seniors.
The World Cafe concept, as its name suggests, aims to provide "a place to talk about serious topics in a relaxing, cafe-like atmosphere." The theme for the March World Cafe was occupations 10 years from now. Debates and discussions between the high school students, university students, and fresh graduates were lively, with the brightest, most exciting ideas often coming from the youngest in the groups.
Day Two began with a research lab tour on the Tokyo Tech Ookayama Campus. Graduate-level students played a central role in introducing the facilities, which are typically off limits even on Open Campus days. Once again, the students from Aomori and Ishinomaki were fully immersed in their new surroundings.
In the afternoon, Tokyo Tech's international students took the high school students on a stroll through the streets of Harajuku, a trendy Tokyo neighborhood. As an additional twist, everyone had to solve a number of challenges in English. With minimal chances to communicate in English in their hometowns, the high school students were given the chance to utilize the language as a tool in an international environment.
After dinner, participants gathered for free discussions. It was evident that the past two days had strengthened many relationships. Conversations focusing on potential directions of study and entrance examinations continued late into the night.
On Day Three, high school students aspiring to be scientists or engineers were invited to the Suzukakedai Campus for further research facility tours. These fortunate students were given a taste of Tokyo Tech's cutting-edge research and an introduction to the newest facilities and equipment.
While the young would-be scientists were at Tokyo Tech, those interested in the humanities were invited to the Kunitachi Campus of Hitotsubashi University. There, Professor Motohiro Morishima of the Graduate School of Commerce and Management gave the high school students a mock lecture. Entitled the "Significance of studying at university," the talk focused on the difference between high school and tertiary education. After listening closely to the talk, many students actively asked Morishima a variety of questions.
As the three-day event neared its end, the impact of conversing with a variety of people during a real university experience for these youngsters was becoming increasingly lucid.
"We interacted with many graduate students, and it was a great opportunity to think about my future and path of study. I will continue to place great importance on connecting with people," one student commented.
"We came to see these universities, but this ended being much more than that. I came into contact with many people, and realized what it means to truly expand my horizons," another said.
Tatsuyuki Arai and Shenglei Lin, first-year doctoral program students at AGL and leaders of the preparation camp, also reflected on the success of the event.
"After a struggle to secure funding for this project and many other challenges, we learned a great deal from this experience. With over 100 people participating, the importance of human interaction was indisputable."
The event appears to have been a revealing experience not only for the high school and university students, but also for the teachers and volunteers who participated. The organizers would like to express their gratitude to the Tokyo Tech Fund Japan Revitalization Project and Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for their support, and all the individuals who dedicated their time and effort to these activities.
This event is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund