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Virtual cultural exchange and language study through “Language Buddy”

June 10, 2021

The Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) continues to offer the “Language Buddy” program - an online platform in which paired-up CJS students and Japanese students can freely talk in Japanese and other languages. The students use Zoom, SNS, email, etc. to interact with each other at least once a week for around 30 minutes in Japanese and 30 minutes in English or other languages.

All CJS classes were held online in the Fall Semester of 2020 and the Spring Semester of 2021, and in-person classes and student activities were limited on the Nanzan campus in the 2020 academic year. For this reason, the program gave CJS students and local students an opportunity to learn each other’s languages and cultures and promoted international exchange among them.

Ludovica Morrone, a CJS student from Italy, and Wakana Hayashi, a student of the Faculty of Global Liberal Studies, built a good relationship through the program. They met on Zoom every week and talked about topics such as social problems in Italy and Japan, beautiful places to visit, typical Roman cuisine and Catholic and Japanese festivals. It was also a good opportunity for them to practice English and, for Morrone, Japanese too. Morrone said, “It's not just about study, it's about learning a different culture from girls and boys who actually live there, rather than from books. The Language Buddy program is a truly instructive and formative project. The courses have finished, but we continue to meet on Zoom every week to continue to hone our English and Japanese language skills.” Wakana Hayashi said, “This language program gave me an opportunity to push myself to study English harder and to think about my own culture and customs. Ludovica loves Japan and hopes to come here, so I took the initiative, did some research and introduced her to aspects of Japanese culture that I have experienced, for example Japanese classical dance. I really wanted to respond appropriately to her enthusiasm. I found that we have more things in common than cultural differences. For example, both of our countries have similar natural environment and Ludovica and I have similar values. I was able to discover that we have many things in common – something that would not have been possible if I were limited to the impressions of Italy I had before we met.”