5 HWIP students and 1 professor carried out a study tour to Sydney, Australia from March 11th to 15th, 2018. This tour was designed with mainly two activities: 1) academic visits, 2) visits organized by student themselves. Two leading universities in Australia; the University of Sydney and Macquarie University were visited during this study tour. Here is our story of the tour.
March 11 (Sunday)
On Sunday 19:15, the journey began with 5 students from Kansai Airport. Everyone looked very excited and highly motivated. We are looking forward to meeting many people and experiencing different cultures in coming three days in Sydney, Australia.
March 12 (Monday)
We finally landed on Sydney and arrived at the Hotel late afternoon: 14:30pm. Long overnight flight made us exhausted. However, students are willing to take this short opportunity to widen their experience and so individual students were given the rest of the day to explore the Sydney city, which is a multicultural place as well as the most populous city in Australia.
March 13 (Tuesday)
It was a busy day. In the morning, we left the hotel to visit the University of Sydney which is the oldest university in Australia. Dr. Ehssan Sakhaee and Ms. Megha Mappilaparambil with 5 postgraduate students kindly organized a mini-workshop for our students. The workshop began with the presentation given by HW students about self-introduction and their research. Then, the main topic of the workshop regarding education between Japan and Australia was discussed through the coordination of Dr. Ehssan and Ms. Megha. After the mini-workshop, all participants had lunch together while further discussing something left from the workshop. What a wonderful arrangement! Thank you Dr. Ehssan and Ms. Megha for this fabulous arrangement.
Soon after the lunch, we quickly moved toward to Macquarie University located in the north of Sydney. Ms. Kaitani welcomed our visit to Macquarie University. Meeting with Dean of School of Engineering: Prof. Bagnall, Ms. Kaitani and Mr. Feagoal kindly took us to laboratories in the School of Engineering including libraries and many other facilities of the University. HW students asked many questions to students in Macquarie University while visiting labs.
March 14 (Wednesday)
Last day of this Sydney tour was designed by individual students. They have made an appointment with people in labs of universities and research organizations in Sydney. Fujita-san visited 3D visualization labs in NSW university which is closely related to her major research. Then, Kisida-san made an appointment with people in Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, which is within walking distance from the University of Sydney. Surprisingly, without no appointment Kevin-san knocked on the door: one of Australians most famous and extremely Interdisciplinary research facilities – the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM). He was able to make a tour of the facility at the Centre.
Late afternoon, we gathered in a lecture room in the University of Sydney, and individual students presented in English what they have learned and experienced during the Sydney tour. Although not enough time for the preparation of the slides was given, all students presented wonderfully. We finalized the day with having nice dinner near the University.
Kevin-san next to the Microscope in the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM)
Kishida-san visited Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF)
Fujita-san visited the University of New South Wale
Kang-san giving a presentation of this Sydney tour
March 15 (Thursday)
We finally arrived at Kansai International airport around 9:00 pm. Mr. Kishida led a short ceremony (一丁締め): one handclapping, to conclude the Sydney tour. For some students, this was the first oversea tour, which opened a new world to them. I noticed that they soon digested sense of difference in culture and soon adapted themselves to the new environment. That was the moment I understand the potential of HW students. Once again, I would like to say thank you all including students who have completed the journey with any trouble, and people who supported this tour in many different ways.
■ There are two main topics I felt we really explored on this tour. Education and Networking. Talking first about Education, we attended a workshop provided by Dr. Ehssan. This was the first time I was able to experience something like this. Normally, a typical discussion like this, would have consisted of some people getting their chance to talk and then try to listen for points you might agree with. Maybe even come up with a goal we could all work towards. However, this workshop gave us an example of how to take our seemingly different opinions and connect them in a way that discarded any differences and made us see -immediately- the similarities. So despite being strangers and our different social, economic and academic backgrounds, we were able to face a difficult topic together as a kind of team.
■During the visit to the Australian mitochondrial disease foundation in Sydney, I learned how to motivate people interested in our research. General people are not familiar with technical terms; the most important thing is to generalize the terms and so people without technical background can understand our research. In the presentation to students in the University of Sydney, I used many technical terms and so they could not understand my presentation much. Many researchers mainly focus on doing research and publishing papers. But people do not know the papers we published. I think we had better put more effort to develop our presentation skills to explain our research to not only researchers within our filed but also people outside of the university.