STUDENT PROJECT INVOLVING MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT IN ACADEMIC STUDY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

D. Sturge

University of Tokushima (JAPAN)
An innovative educational project designed primarily by university undergraduates in Japan provides a model for local and international collaboration between academic institutions and local governments. In this particular case, study of foreign language and intercultural communication is based on the official international relationship that connects Leiria (Portugal) and Tokushima (Japan), cities that have shared a partner city relationship for decades but have had limited interaction among ordinary residents of those cities. This paper describes how students develop practical organizational, social and linguistic skills as they increase awareness of their own culture and foreign culture. Details are given about the organizational process used to create multi-lingual public exhibitions that introduce aspects of life in one city to people via displays of photographs, texts, video, artwork and local products. Logistic details are explained for various stages of project development, ranging from precursor activities to current organization status. Future project expansion is discussed in terms of potential activities and benefits that extend beyond academic and government circles to the general public of cities that host exhibitions.