Campus life information
Popular with busy international students! What is the amazing GLC at the SIT?
At the Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) foreign students have many opportunities to get to grips with Japanese culture, meet fellow Japanese and non-Japanese students and learn new skills. Studying at university, especially at a university in Japan, doesn’t just mean going to classes and revising in the library, it is a place to make international exchanges, and experience both Japanese culture and language. Across Shibaura’s three campuses there are different events going on, but at two of the campuses there is a very special place made especially for any student interested in not just international, but intercultural, exchanges! The Global Learning Commons (GLC) is just the ticket to explore a wider world for all students.
What is the GLC?
The first GLC was opened at the Omiya campus in 2016, with a second following at the Toyosu campus in 2017, with the aim of creating a space for intercultural exchange and the promotion of diversity. It is made up of a large space where students can sit and relax, study and more. On any one day you might find a presentation going on in one corner, and later a Japanese or English conversation class going on which you can join in. On other days you might even find yourself joining a class to learn Vietnamese or another language!
The staff members are made up of international students and Japanese students who have studied abroad, and they are able to provide assistance to anyone interested in studying abroad. They can also help international students who have questions about their classes, or about living in Japan. If you have any questions at all about anything, they will be able to tell you the answer, or at least point you in the right direction. These staff members also help with managing events and many other tasks for their fellow students. However, perhaps their most important function is just being there to chat with, they are happy to meet, and talk with, any of their fellow students.
The equipment at the GLC facilitates online meetings with partner universities, for example through a Teleconference system, which is really useful for students to develop a truly global mindset. There are also whiteboards for group meetings, easily moveable chairs and tables, plus it also acts as a kind of library with printed material on both life in Japan, and overseas. It is really a place where you can relax from the rigors of study and make new friends.
The GLC is also really well known for its on-going program of lectures and events. There are often lectures of symposiums taking place in the GLC, but also more fun and relaxed club activities and Japan culture experiences. Many club and circle activities are held at the GLC because of its relaxed atmosphere – at Japanese universities clubs are usually quite dedicated sport teams, etc., while circles are more laid back gatherings of people with similar interests – so you might find yourself joining a fun group and making a whole new set of friends. Throughout the year you can join parties, like at Halloween, and amazing cultural events such as Japanese calligraphy – the art of creating beautiful Japanese writing.
Amazing Japanese Cultural Experiences at the GLC!
The GLC has a fully packed roster of Japanese culture events just waiting for you, these international exchanges allow students not just to experience Japanese culture, but are also a chance to meet fellow international students and Japanese students. While learning about Japan you can also tell people about your own country and culture, and find out about many others!
At these experiences, for example Japanese calligraphy, the organizers arrange everything, the paper and ink, and teach you how to write a pretty Japanese character – which you can keep as a memento of your time in Japan. Other events include trying on a kimono, flying Japanese kites, and even Japanese cinema evenings – the possibilities are endless. Each event is arranged so that anyone can participate and feel comfortable, and most importantly learn about aspects of Japan that they might not otherwise come across.
Throughout the year there are also Japanese traditional festivals, like Tanabata – also known as the Star Festival where people write a wish on a piece of paper and hang it on bamboo. It is also a chance to look cool in a Japanese yukata, a casual version of the kimono. Other festivals are held which give international students to tell people about their own countries and customs – GLC has a really eclectic and global atmosphere!
In addition to the events held at the GLC, the staff members also pass on information, and provide advice on, external opportunities like homestays, Japanese language classes and international exchanges. A homestay is a marvelous way of really engaging with Japanese life, and learning Japanese language really helps with daily life in Japan as well as making Japanese friends. In fact, the GLC has Japanese only, and English only, days – so they really want to encourage everyone to try to speak Japanese, even if it is only a little.
Study at SIT and Enjoy Yourself at GLC
For an international student at SIT there are many things to get used to, including how classes are scheduled and daily life, but there is a great support system at the GLC so that you are never alone and you can find out any information that you need to know. A key aspect about the GLC is communication, the staff and fellow students who come here are all happy to help – and as staff members include a number of different international students it is more than likely you will find someone who can speak your own native language, as well as Japanese or English.
In addition, as a university student you will have a busy schedule, and you might feel you don’t have time to really experience Japanese culture outside of the campus, but with the GLC being based on campus in Toyosu and Omiya you are never far away from an opportunity to join in with club activities, or Japan culture experiences, or even festivals. Their events are frequent, and some are quite short, so it is really easy for SIT students to join in!
Ultimately, the GLC is run by students, for students, with the pure desire to be of help, to educate and to have fun. Whilst studying at the SIT you may be dedicated to your subject, but you can also broaden your world by meeting students studying other disciplines, sit in a Japanese language class – or even a class for another language – and experience Japanese culture first hand. Especially for new students it one of the best ways to acclimatize yourself to Japan, and to the SIT, and best of all you will make friendships that will last a lifetime.