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NTU EEE student JENESYS Programme experience!

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The JENESYS Programme (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) is a project advanced by the Japanese government from the standpoint of providing a sound foundation for strong solidarity within Asia through large-scale youth exchange. Since 2007, they have been carrying out exchange programmes aimed at promoting mutual understanding and friendly relations. As one of the implementing organizations for this programme, JICE (Japan International Cooperation Center) is in charge of conducting the programme in cooperation with various local governments, schools, and international exchange organizations in each area. 

NTU EEE Student Elaine Chong Yan Min got to know about this programme through a NTU EEE staff. The staff introduced Elaine to this programme, asking if she had visiting Japan previously. After reading up about the programme intinery, Elaine was eager to participate. During the trip, she would get the opportunity to visit different Japanese companies, have a homestay experience as well as visiting their local universities. Since the programme is a tech-based programme, another main aim is for Singapore students to have a deeper understanding of the technology industry in Japan. Cultural exchange is also a highlight of the programme. There are 10 representatives in total, Elaine was the only representative from NTU EEE. The other 9 were from other NTU engineering schools as well as science schools. The programme spans over 8 days. 

The main bulk of the trip was at Tokyo. Throughout the 8 days, the participants visited Japanese companies such as Olympus and JST (Japanese Science and Technology Agency). During the visit, the students took the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Sendai and spent 2 nights in Sendai. While they were there, they also visited Tohoku University. At the university, the participants learnt more about research projects as well as an insight of University’s new division, IRIDes (International Research Institute of Disaster Science). They spent a night at a homestay with a local host in Miyagi Prefecture. During the stay, the students learnt more about the disastrous tsunami in 2011 and had eye-opening experience listening to residents who experienced the Tsunami first-hand and witnessed the damage done by the tsunami. Finally at the end of the trip the participants went over to the Singapore embassy and had some discussion with the Singapore diplomat. 

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The major takeaway Elaine had from the trip was the culture of respect amongst the Japanese. Regardless of their occupation, from road sweepers to bus drivers, everyone treats every profession with respect and they all perform their jobs with pride. Everyday when the NTU students get up the bus, their local guide would do a brief introduction of the bus driver and they would then greet the bus driver. When they arrived at the various organisations, the visitors would be received as soon as their bus reached the venue and the hosts would wait to send the participants off until their bus driver drives off even in the cold weather. Another learning point was the unity amongst Japanese. The Japanese are very driven in the recycling culture. From their city visits and our visits to the countryside, they were introduced multiple times to the culture of recycling. 

The hosts each shared with the NTU students their part in building a stronger recycling culture. The stay at Miyagi was exceptionally memorable when Elaine saw how the community is slowly growing stronger each time a disaster strikes them. Instead of avoiding and hiding the damage done (physically and emotionally), they shared with us the whole experience and constantly reminded us to bring back these information and share with our fellow friends. The hosts were very forward thinking, constantly thinking of various ways to pick themselves up amidst this disaster prone environment. The citizens of Miyagi are also very welcoming towards the students.

Published on 14 April 2020​
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