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30 Days in the Heart of Tokyo

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SOPHIA UNIVERSITY, JAPAN

UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and President of Sophia University, Takashi Hayashita. The MOU is aimed at improving bilateral relationships that will enhance research and education at both institutions. It is also intended to expand the spectrum of academic collaboration and cultural awareness between the universities. The students also took classes in Japanese Business and Economy and Japanese Language under a pedagogical model where anecdotal stories were encouraged. Raphaella Colahar, The UWI Mona Computer Science student noted that she heard perspectives from across the world including, students from the Pacific Islands, Australia, China, Korea, Indonesia and Germany. Quinn Weekes, Economics and Finance final year student at The UWI Cave Hill talked about how being in such an international environment made what was familiar to him, strange like seeing criminals on the covers of daily newspapers, “In other countries, that’s a total no no.” Economics and Political Science Cave Hill student, Shekira Thompson remarked on how being in the developed world made her appreciative of how far smaller developing states like the Caribbean have come. “In Japan, they tackle the same issues like us—poverty, mental health issues, gender inequality and in Barbados, we actually do

64 – THE PELICAN/ISSUE 14

a better job with regards to women receiving equal pay—there’s not a huge glass wall for females to break whereas in Japan they are now figuring that out. That inspired me to make me want to do my part to continue development in smaller islands, to help and improve people’s lives.” Outside of the classroom, the learning continued with field trips illustrating their daily lessons in places like the National Bank and Parliament. The students were fully immersed into Japanese cultural activities like calligraphy classes, participating in a traditional Japanese drum circle and acquainting themselves with Japan daily. Shekira was awed by Japan’s “seamless stitching of old traditions and forward thinking... everything they do they do with a respect for history and technology.” All the students talked about the great food as they tasted a bit of everything, sushi, Japanese curry, udon noodles...”I ate octopus balls!” Dane shared, “They have nothing like that in Jamaica.” Vice-Chancellor Beckles described the partnership with Sophia University as being clearly aligned with his leadership vision for The UWI as a Caribbean university saying, “Establishing strong linkages with partner institutions, especially those with similar strategic thrusts as ours, augers well for enabling the

UWI Pelican Issue 14  
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