MEXT, in cooperation with Japan Student Services Organization as well as private companies and organizations, created a new program called "Tobitate! Ryugaku Japan: Japan Representative Program" to support Japanese students studying abroad by providing scholarships. ICU students Rikako Murakami (third year, left) and Minami Nishinaga (second year, right) were selected as the first students of the program to be sent abroad. The two students, together with other students selected from around the country to be sent abroad, participated in a send-off party held at MEXT on July 27 (Sun.).
A characteristic of the program is that it is possible to receive support for self-designed plans, such as field work, internship, and volunteer work, not just academics. This year, 1700 people from 221 schools applied, and 323 people from 106 schools received scholarships. At the send-off party, Hakubun Shimomura, Minister, MEXT, and corporate sponsors spoke, and four student representatives presented their study abroad plans. Afterward, a networking event for participating students was held.
ICU's Ms. Murakami is this academic year's executive committee chairperson of H-LAB, a summer school for high school students centering on a liberal arts education that is supported by university students around the world, including those from Harvard and Princeton. She is thinking, "Through discussions and interactions with students from around the world, I would like to deepen my learning of politics and policies and grow into a person who can contribute to world peace" at the university in the USA where she will study.
Ms. Nishinaga regularly contributes to Japan-Russia relations through the activities of Japan & Russia Student Exchange Association. Through studying abroad in Belarus for one year, she will increase her Russian proficiency and simultaneously investigate the impact of nuclear accidents on food. According to her, "I would like to consider what kind of information regarding food safety and local production & local consumption these two countries with central roles should transmit to the world. I would also like to consider the possibility of spreading Japan's food culture."