RMIT Vietnam students discovered a new culture, lasting friendships and fresh perspectives on a recent trip to Japan.
The ten students were winners of the Sakura trip contest, a competition about student exchange in science and technology with the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) in Japan.
For one week the students participated in science and technology activities at the TUS.
In addition the group explored Japanese culture through trips to the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Factory, the National Museum of Nature and Science, Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and the Kanamachi Water Purification Plants.
For Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) student Tran Giang Thanh, the trip was very fulfilling.
“I learnt how to take one of the most complicated metro train routes in the world, walked for 5 to 8 hours per day, ordered food off a menu written in other languages and absorbed lots of knowledge about technology and science,” Thanh said.
“Most importantly I adapted to Japanese culture.”
“From the Japanese culture I learnt about conscientiousness and punctuality. These customs are totally different in Vietnam where being five minutes late is considered to be normal.”
As fascinating as the activities were, for Thanh Nga - also a Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) student - what made the experience unforgettable were the strong bonds of friendship.
“The Japanese students and we come from different cultural backgrounds, so it was hard to break the ice – or so I thought,” Thanh Nga said.
“We became closer so naturally. From Tokyo SkyTree – the world’s tallest tower – we watched the sky turn dark together.
“And when we went home, they went to the airport to meet us one last time. It was so touching. A guy even spent the whole night writing letters for each of us. I find it hard not to shed tears.”
For other students, the exchange was life changing.
After the trip, Phuong Anh - a Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) student - changed her future plans.
“I decided to change my plans for the next 5 years. I will go to Japan to study a Master’s degree after graduating from RMIT because I love that country so much,” Phuong Anh said.
More experiences like this lie ahead as the Sakura Exchange Program of science and technology between RMIT Vietnam and TUS has been confirmed for next year.