On July 21, a ceremony was held to extend a warm welcome for Ukrainian exchange students.
Our university participates in the “Japan-Ukraine Educational Pathways” program organized by Pathways Japan and has welcomed eight Ukrainian students who fled the armed invasion by Russia and wished to continue their studies here in Japan. They arrived in Japan in late June and started their lives at our international dormitory on July 1, and from July 5, they began a short-term program for international students called “Summer Session” to learn about the cultures and societies of Japan as well as other East Asian countries, and to polish their Japanese language skills in classes.
The Welcome Ceremony was moderated by Vice President for Global Academic Affairs, Professor Tetsuro Morishita, and at first, President Yoshiaki Terumichi announced, ” Please know that all of you are already a part of the Sophia family. We welcome you from the bottom of our hearts.” Then, Mr. Masao Torii, President of Sophia University Alumni Association, Dean of FLA, Prof. Angela Yu, and Prof. Hideki Maruyama, General Coordinator of Sophia Program for Sustainable Futures, a degree program in English, which was established last year, also gave welcoming speeches.
Then, the Sophia Philharmonic Orchestra, an extracurricular student organization, performed three pieces of string quartet including Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile, bringing a beautiful sound to the venue.
Finally, eight international students delivered speeches. Many of them introduced themselves in Japanese, and some of them gave their entire speeches in Japanese, demonstrating their enthusiasm in learning the language.
In their speeches, all the students expressed their joy and gratitude for the opportunity to continue their studies. They also shared their experiences and thoughts about their time in Ukraine and talked about the actions need to be taken now and their dreams for the future. Students received a round of applause from the audience as they expressed their desire to work as a bridge between Ukraine and Japan and contribute to the building of peace.
After the ceremony, many participants enjoyed exchanges with the Ukrainian students, chatting together about classes and life in Japan, exchanging contact information, and so on.