Overseas Active Learning Program “Learn from Africa”
One of the Active Learning Programs, "Learning from Africa" was held from August 30 to September 15, 2021. As with last year's spring break, the program was provided online due to the effects of the COVID-19.
This program is held during the summer and spring break every year to learn about the history and present situation such as politics, economy, culture, and daily life of the African region. This summer in 2021, we are organizing a virtual program connecting with the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire to deepen students’ understanding of multi-lateral aspects of Cote d'Ivoire and Japanese international cooperation in the country. During this program, Sophia students had the time of interaction with young African researchers and university students living in African countries, and international organizations and Japanese company in Cote d'Ivoire gave introductions to job descriptions and virtual tours of workplaces. We also had lectures from the Embassy of Cote d'Ivoire in Japan and the Embassy of Burkina Faso in Japan, which allowed students to learn more about Cote d'Ivoire and whole region of West Africa from various perspectives.
In the sessions with the embassies and local international organizations, the students gave presentations on what they learned in the program and their own interests. During the student exchange, we connected two African students who had studied at Sophia University in the past with Zoom and asked them many questions about their real-life experiences in both Africa and Japan. The students who participated in the program said, "Giving a presentation in front of the Ambassador was an experience that I will never have again, and it was a very valuable experience.”, “By talking across cultural differences, I realized that I am not "normal," and I could learn more about myself through dialogue with people from African countries.” For the students who have been taking online classes after the pandemic, the interaction among the program participants from various departments seemed to be very meaningful, and they commented to each other that they had received a lot of stimulation.
By receiving lectures from both Japan and Cote d'Ivoire, students were able to deepen their learning by comparing the two countries, and by connecting with not only in Cote d'Ivoire but also in neighboring countries, students were able to have time to interact with people from many different countries through this online program.