Foreign students at ICU conduct field research in Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture
Update: April 11, 2017
Six students who are studying at ICU through Middlebury School in Japan conducted field work for four days between Monday, March 27, and Thursday, March 30, in Kasama City in Ibaraki Prefecture. Middlebury College is an ICU's partner college and located in Vermont, U.S.A.
Kasama City and the Middlebury School in Japan, which maintains its office at ICU, started their exchange project involving industry, academia and government in 2016 based in Mitaka City, Tokyo, where ICU is located. The project was launched in cooperation with Kasama City and the Tokyo Kasama Studies Association, a citizens' group designed to promote regional exchanges. The Middlebury College School in Japan has been jointly organizing a variety of activities so foreign students, taking advantage of their Japanese language skills and specialized knowledge, can make contributions to the communities in which they live.
In the second year of field research that followed the similar work last year, the students were given an assignment to find what makes Kasama City's tourism resources and products attractive to tourists from other countries and to foreigners living in Japan, and were asked to make recommendations on how to make a pitch for them. The students walked around in town, interviewed local residents and prepared presentations on the results of their discussions, which went on well into the night, before Kasama City Mayor, Shinju Yamaguchi, and senior city officials.
The students came up with many specific proposals, including those on the differences in the images of chestnuts, Kasama City's special product, among people in Japan and the United States, the importance of hands-on learning and the need to explain tourism resources in various languages. Following the presentations, the mayor said, already looking into the future, "We may be able to put some of the ideas we received from you into action straight away." He appeared to be fully convinced, after hearing the students say with sparkling eyes, "We'll definitely come back," that the region is attractive enough to increase the number of foreigners who love Kasama City.