Internationalizing the curriculum
At the School of Arts and Letters, we offer a wide choice of subjects for students to major in. Moreover, because we aim to provide a broad education and to produce cultured graduates with a high level of specialist knowledge, we do not limit ourselves to teaching foreign languages, but also arrange foreign trips for language learning and promote international exchange to encourage in-depth study of the history and culture of each region.
The very first university level international exchange agreement we participated in was between Meiji and the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna in 2002, focusing on German Literature. In 2005, an agreement was signed making Meiji University and the University of Vienna into partners, and since then we have continued to arrange exchanges, and every year students from the School of Arts and Letters are given the chance to spend time in training sessions at the University of Vienna studying German. Symposia between the two universities are also held periodically. When they take place at Meiji, Japanese studies specialists from the University of Vienna make academic presentations. The opportunity to hear the work of overseas scholars expressed in Japanese during these presentations is valuable to both undergraduate and postgraduate students of Japanese literature and history.
We are also working towards establishing similar partnerships with other universities. In 2010, we concluded inter-university cooperation agreements with both School of History of Beijing Normal University and Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies at Bielefeld University (Germany). We hope both to send students to study abroad, and to play host to overseas students, in a two-way exchange. Through these projects, the faculty is pressing ahead with its scheme of internationalization.
In 2007, a system for organizing overseas seminar camps was established, and since 2008, Prof. Hiroshi Ohata’s psychosociology seminar group has been visiting Chuncheon in South Korea to work together with local students and to conduct interviews on the subject of the formation of regional communities. In September 2010, Prof. Yukio Takada’s seminar group of Asian History Course went Shanghai, China, and visited scenes of historical events and museums. Through giving chances to feel connection between history and the present, it makes its practical trainings more fruitful and helps students to write graduation theses with depth.
Overseas seminar camps provide students with a great incentive to further their research, and with a chance to participate in exchanges abroad. In the future, as well as developing links through our Asian History department, we also plan to make improvements to the way the faculty functions. Naturally, like other faculties in the university, we are planning to enhance our teaching of English, but we also wish to develop a wide variety of international perspectives through the majors we offer.