Seminars / セミナー

Student Voices from Seminar Students

Seminars / セミナー

Rin Shigemura(Intersectionality / Diana KHOR)

In this seminar, we read papers and discuss social issues every week based on the research theme of other seminar members. Although each member has a different theme and interest, one thing they all have in common is that they all have the idea of intersectionality in terms of the deep roots of issues and social inequality. By critiquing papers, we can gain the ability to write comprehensive papers.

We also have sessions where we bring up recent news articles along with the topic of each week, so we can catch up with up-to-date developments. What I love most about this seminar is that everyone is open-minded and it is a safe place to share and exchange opinions. This safe space makes me realize points that I wasn’t aware of and repeatedly gain a new perspective.

I think I could enhance my knowledge of critical thinking in this seminar. I also like finding that what we think is normal, might not be normal for everyone, or that what seems equal is not necessarily equal for everyone. I am so grateful that I am a part of an intersectionality seminar. This is definitely the most precious experience in my university life!

Gul Fatima(Literature in Theory and Practice / Gregory KHEZRNEJAT)

In our seminar we do a variety of studies to explore and analyze different aspects of literature and literary theory. For example, last year, we performed close readings that helped us engage in close textual analysis of literary works. Focusing on elements such as language, style, themes, and structure helped us develop skills in interpreting and understanding the nuances of literary texts. This year, we are exploring various literary theories and critical approaches, such as structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, psychoanalysis and many more. We are expected to give presentations on assigned readings which encourages active participation and meaningful discussions among the seminar members. These theories provide frameworks for interpreting and analyzing literature from different perspectives. This seminar can help with building valuable skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, research abilities and cultural understanding which can be advantageous in academia, careers involving analysis and communication and personal growth. 

Nami Kawajiri(Tourism Management / John MELVIN)

In the seminar, we deal with various case studies to learn how each destination manages tourism, what strategies are used, and what kind of problems they face from the perspective of sustainability. Each week, there is an opportunity to exchange ideas with other students and have discussions based on questions that help us to deepen our understanding of tourism-related issues. 

Each seminar member has a different point of view and different interests, which gives everyone new perspectives and a deeper understanding of tourism management. My view on tourism has changed since joining the seminar, and I have gained a more multifaceted viewpoint by delving into not only the benefits but also the negative impacts of tourism and the sustainability of tourism. Learning about issues such as over-tourism and environmental destruction caused by an increased number of tourists has changed my travel behavior to be more considerate of tourist destinations. Furthermore, tourism is interconnected with other fields of study, so I think it is also one of the valuable aspects of this seminar to be able to research how tourism relates to other fields through research projects.

For example, I am interested in Korean pop culture, therefore I am planning to investigate how Korean pop culture influences tourism and the possibilities for utilizing fan tourism for local revitalization. 

Besides the content that we cover in the seminar, I really like the atmosphere of this seminar where everyone is kind and supportive. 

I believe that the knowledge of business management and marketing that I gained in this seminar will be useful in my future career in tourism as well as other fields.

Hana Sato(Language Teaching and Learning / Machiko KOBORI)

Our seminar, Language Teaching and Learning, explores second language (L2) education within a global context. Our focus is on both theoretical and practical aspects of related fields, such as global educational issues to support L2 learners and teachers with different ethnic backgrounds, L2 pedagogy, curriculum development, etc. We examine how these issues impact the learning of L2 learners and how addressing them can improve L2 teacher education, and it is fascinating to explore L2 education worldwide.

We learn about second language learning (SLL) like L2 motivation through reading materials and sharing our knowledge through presentations in class. Also, we put such theoretical aspects of SLL into practice by teaching English to primary and secondary pupils in Japan and overseas. For instance, we teach English lessons online and in public spaces like libraries. Dealing with young learners is very enjoyable, and helping them with their L2 learning is also rewarding.

These experiences allow us to broaden our perspectives on L2 education, and anyone interested in getting involved in the related fields of global language education would benefit from attending this seminar.

Minh Anh Nguyen(Entrepreneurship and Innovation / Shiaw Jia EYO)

We have discussions on successful start-up companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation seminar. I really enjoy learning about these companies, for example, how they started, the struggles they have gone through, and the innovations they have brought to our society.

Besides these successful large enterprises, we also research social entrepreneurs and start-ups that have not quite gone to plan in order to gain a bigger picture of entrepreneurship and innovation. There are always interesting and new learning points in every assignment we do.After we read and analyze the case studies we are given, we prepare presentations to share with other seminar members and we exchange opinions with each other. This definitely helps me to improve my critical thinking, problem-solving, and presentation skills.

Everyone in the seminar is supportive and open-minded, so there is no need to feel nervous or intimidated when giving a presentation. I think this is a plus point not only for myself, but everyone. Overall, with my keen interest in business and entrepreneurship, I am glad that I have many opportunities to learn and gain new experiences in this seminar.

Hayato Taguchi(Media Across Borders / Stevie SUAN)

At the start of the Media Across Borders Seminar, the class discussed Freidrich Kittler’s ideas on how “Media determine our situation”. In a society where we are constantly exposed to some form of imagery and even the images we present of ourselves, media seems to affect every aspect of our lives. This is even more apparent now, as we are on the verge of a new era through the development of AI. Because we are at the point where we are not fully aware of the full potential of this technology, we are confronted with various questions. To tackle these questions, understanding how to think in a world of continuous information exchange has become more crucial than ever. What is our relationship with devices that almost seem like an extension of our body? Are we animating ourselves through social media? Despite the transnational production of anime, why is it branded as a Japanese product? These are only glimpses of the questions that the seminar tries to answer throughout the year. We are also constantly questioning ourselves as the topics in the seminar are never ones that we can easily comprehend. Despite the difficulty in understanding these topics, all members of this classroom are willing to help one another. Because everyone has some form of relationship with the media in this day and age, we can appreciate all the insights that we receive through discussions and presentations. The seminar itself is very new, and there exists flexibility that doesn’t exist in other seminars, which in turn allows us to adapt to the rapidly changing world of media. From podcasts to seminar trips, the students are free to propose ideas to further improve our shared learning experience. Building a new culture with the professor and other classmates will become something valuable for me moving forward.

Shun Narimatsu(Global Strategic Management / Takamasa FUKUOKA)

This seminar provides an academic atmosphere for learning about strategies and management in the context of international business. The curriculum is centered around three domains: Corporate Culture, Business Model, and Marketing and Public Relations. Each week, seminar members deliver presentations and lead discussions on the subject they have presented. We also analyze case studies utilized at Harvard Business School, and conduct academic deliberations on the most effective solutions to the problems faced by companies.

Apart from classroom teaching, we have an opportunity to compete in marketing contests. Students of the Fukuoka Seminar won first prize for Marketing Contest in Japan (MCJ) last year and also in each of the 5 preceding years. Communication plays a critical role in our seminar, and we appreciate mutual engagement through group activities. For example, we have organized seminar parties and a seminar trip, all of which are very fun!

I believe that this seminar is one of the most demanding experiences you can have at university, but the experience you can gain here will be invaluable for your future career.

Reina Minami(International Relations / Takeshi YUZAWA)

The seminar on IR allows me to see the landscape of international relations from various perspectives. For example, we explore not only superpowers' dynamics and conflicts but also development, digital technology, and energy transition. So, I touch on and analyze the issues surrounding international relations, then, I realize how the world is mutually and complexly interdependent.

Moreover, the seminar activities, including discussions, essays, and research projects, can strengthen our “critical thinking,” another keyword of this seminar. We focus on thinking of topics with logic and evidence-based ideas so that we can convince others of our perspectives. It is hard to spend time reading and understanding different topics and being prepared to defend our ideas.

However, at the same time, discussions with seminar members offer me a broader interpretation of international relations. Also, the open-minded atmosphere of the seminar enables us all to interact with each other, in this sense I don’t just mean seminar activities but also personal matters. Therefore, this seminar encourages me to develop my prospects in terms of international relations and my critical thinking abilities. This seminar has given me the opportunity to develop as a person, and I am glad that I can feel that I have developed as a university student. 

Celia Yukiko Kuroda(Self and Culture / Yu NIIYA)

I find this seminar to be a safe place where we can be open and discuss how the self and culture influence our thoughts and behaviors. For example, in this term, we are examining how social media can be used to promote psychological well-being. Each week we write our opinions and perspectives on the research articles we are assigned. We later engage in discussions where we share our thoughts about the readings as we compare them to our own experiences. In this seminar, we all get to enhance our understanding of our own lives by using the knowledge we have gained on social and cultural psychology. I believe this has helped us improve our skills in critical thinking and problem-solving. Furthermore, we conduct psychological research on the topics we are interested in. I was interested in what features of the media, especially films, influence our ability to empathize with others. Through such research, we can deepen our knowledge of human behavior and psychology, and gain skills to scientifically test the validity of our assumptions. This seminar can help us analyze ourselves and our surroundings more objectively, which is useful for coming up with new approaches to combat existing social issues.

Hinata Oikawa (Diversity of English / Yutai WATANABE)

It was because of my own experience of the process of English acquisition that I decided to join this seminar, especially as one of the key topics is English as a lingua franca (ELF). I learned English for nearly six years in a typical Japanese environment, one where many students hesitated to speak the target language out loud due to a fear of making grammatical or phonological mistakes. However, I attended a cram school in preparation for university admission and my English proficiency greatly improved, moreover, I had less anxiety about speaking thanks to active interactions with my classmates who came from English-speaking backgrounds.

When studying sociolinguistics later in the seminar, I realized how effectively I had been using ELF at my cram school and that non-native users in ELF contexts should focus on intelligibility rather than on ‘correctness’. Now I would like to explore how English is used around the world, while constructing its speakers’ identities and how social relationships are shaped among them. I think this seminar is the best choice for any student who is interested in variations of English in different regions and contexts, and in speakers’ attitudes towards accents and dialects.