We had “Online Chat in Japanese” with students in the Japanese course of the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages (Kaohsiung City, Taiwan) from October 2020 to the beginning of February 2021. We have an academic exchange agreement with the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages. Usually, two students from the Japanese course of the university come to visit Ube Kosen in January – February, and they do an internship at Ube Kosen, Ube City Hall, and Asahi Seika Co., Ltd. But they could not come to Japan due to COVID 19 this year so that we had an online exchange activity.
Taiwanese students in the Japanese course of the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages have a high level of Japanese skills, but they have almost no opportunities to talk to Japanese people in the same generation, so we planned “Online Chat in Japanese” for the Taiwanese students to provide opportunities to learn what kind of wording young people use by making conversation with Japanese students on topics they are interested.
Twelve students from Ube Kosen (two from 3rd-year, ten from 1st-year) and six students from the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages participated. Each group had two Japanese students and one Taiwanese student. They had “chat” once a week using Office 365 Teams and they talked about topics they were interested in Japanese. It was done in Japanese, so it was easier to participate in the activity for junior students. That is why all the members except two 3rd-year students who run the activity were 1st-year students.
We would like to continue online activities even after we resume face-to-face activities in the future.
Left: NAKAMURA Aika, Upper right: MIZUKAMI, Haruka, Lower right: Cheng Yuan Yuan
Left: Jhuang Yong Han, Right: SHIMIZU Momoka
NAKAMURA Aika (3rd-year of the Department of Business Administration)
I joined this program as a leader. I had not often had a role as a leader and run such an activity so that it was a valuable experience for me. I made a questionnaire to understand each group activity and made an instruction of Teams for the members as the leader. I was worried because many students were not familiar with online functions of Teams but it was good that all of the groups were making conversations about their countries.
I was happy because my two good Taiwanese friends who came to Ube Kosen for an internship last year joined this activity. It was nice that I talked to them face-to-face even though it was online as it had been for a while. I stayed in touch with them in LINE and Instagram, but we had not talked face-to-face for a long time, so it was awkward at first. But as we went on a couple of times, we started to talk not only about cultures in Taiwan and Japan, but gossip and TV shows. When we were so excited, we could not stop talking.
Through this activity, I gained communication skills. It is great that you can communicate with Taiwanese students while you are in Japan, so I would like other students to join. I would like to join international exchange activities in the future.
SHIMIZU Momoka (1st-year of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
It was my first time communicating with Taiwanese people through this activity. I was interested in Taiwan and Chinese so that I wanted to join when I learned of this activity. It encouraged me because many students from 1st year and senior students joined so that I enjoyed making the communication. Our partner was Jhuang Young Han, and we communicated by online once a week. I was worried first if I could talk well or if she would understand what I said. The conversation started with an awkward greeting, but as it went on, we started to talk about culture in Japan and Taiwan and we got excited talking about favorite artists. We managed to communicate well even though it was online.I asked some questions using LINE outside of the “once a week conversation” because I wanted to know something about Taiwan personally. It was a good opportunity for me because I learned something I was interested in other than the exchange activity. I would like to join with my friends next time if there will be such an international exchange activity in the future.
Cheng Yuan Yuan (4th-year in the Japanese Course of the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages)
I went to Ube Kosen during the last winter holiday (January to February) for an internship. Three weeks was a short time, but I took classes with Ube Kosen students and I worked for the City Hall and a company as an intern. I could not go to Japan because of COVID 19, so I, as a leader on Taiwanese side, recruited students at the university who were interested in Japan and started the online communication with Ube Kosen students once a week from the middle of October last year. We did not get number of Wenzao Ursuline University students as many as Ube Kosen students, so we assigned two Ube Kosen students and one Wenzao Ursuline University student in each group. Wenzao Ursuline University student introduced Taiwanese culture and Ube Kosen student introduced Japanese culture, etc. I enjoyed the online communication because we had various topics to talk about, such as the cultural difference between Taiwan and Japan, urban legend. I would like to join if there will be another online communication activity.
Jhuang Yong Han (4th-year in the Japanese Course of the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages)
I was happy that I joined “Chat planning”. I joined it because I could not go to Japan to study as I planned due to COVID 19. It was hard in 2020 because of COVID 19, we could not go abroad to study and we had fewer opportunities to communicate with foreigners. So, it was new and fun to chat online. I joined the chat planning because one of my friends who had visited Ube Kosen asked. Once I talked to Ube Kosen students, I found they were nice. I thought it must be fun if I visit Yamaguchi. We talked about vacations, difference between Chinese and Japanese languages, etc. The one thing I was regret was the lack of topics because I was not familiar with chatting online. But I would love to visit Ube Kosen once the pandemic is settled, with Cheng Yuan Yuan.