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Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018”

Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018”

Sophia University and Sophia University Junior College Division ran the “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018” from August 25th to September 5th. A total of fifteen attendees participated; twelve students from the undergraduate program and three students from the junior college.

This year marks the fourth implementation of the Exposure Tour; Sophia University and the Junior College Division have been going to the Island of Pohnpei every year around September since 2015. This tour is made able by a pact signed between the College of Micronesia (COM-FSM) and Sophia. This year, participation in the Exposure Tour was rewarded by two class credits applicable to all students in all divisions as long as they received good grades in the course. APIC’s Directing Manager, Mr. Shoji Sato (visiting professor at Sophia) and specialist on the Nan Madol ruins in Micronesia, PhD. Osamu Kataoka (visiting professor at Sophia) chaperoned and took charge of the program.

The 2018 program was extended by four days compared to the previous year, increasing the number of activities and lectures, allowing for a greater academic program. The students stayed at the COM-FSM dormitories, where they listened to lectures from local experts and visited the beautiful natural wonders of the UNESCO Heritage Nan Madol Ruins and remote islands. These activities gave the students a chance to experience Micronesian history, culture, and nature through their senses.

Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018”

(Activities taking place at Dahu Reirei Island)

Local lecturers included former FSM President Emanuel Mori, Japanese Ambassador to Micronesia Mr. Ryoichi Horie; they talked about Micronesia’s history, culture, challenges in society as well as other topics. Additionally, the students received a briefing at JICA’s Micronesia Office, where a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers who is working at a local elementary school gave a talk, deepening the students’ understanding of the country.

Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018”

(Former President Mori giving a lecture)

At the end of the program, the students participated in a two-night homestay. Some students went diving, fishing, participated in family reunions, etc., experiencing the warmth of the Micronesian people.

Once the students returned to Japan, they wrote a report and made a presentation describing their experiences. Many students talked about how they were largely influenced by their time in the island nation and in the future want to help the country in whatever ways they can. Hopefully the participants will take positions to spread what they learned and experienced during the ‘Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018’.

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