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English training program for administrative staff: an intensive course in London
Selected for the Top Global University Project, Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Geidai) has been pushing forward globalization through various means such as accepting an increased number of international students and strengthening ties with overseas institutions. As part of such globalization efforts, since the academic year 2016, we have started an English language training program for our administrative staff to equip them with skills that will enable them to more effectively engage in international operations.
While we have adopted different types of English language learning programs such as group lessons and online courses offered by private service providers, we started some new programs this year and one of them is an intensive overseas training program.
This intensive program has been designed with the primary objective of preparing our staff ready to work in more practical and international settings. The participants take classes at a language school either affiliated to or in the vicinity of our overseas partner institution, during which they learn English intensively for a set period of time and experience a foreign culture.
Following is a report written by Mr. Taishi Ozaki of Faculty of Fine Arts Educational Affairs Section, who studied on this program at the Language Center, University of the Arts London in September 2017.
My name is Taishi Ozaki and I am a member of the educational affairs section in the faculty of Fine Arts. I have participated in an English training program for administrators which is organized by the international office of the university. I stayed 4 weeks (4th ~ 29th September 2017) in London to attend classes at the Language Center, University of the Arts London.
The reason I applied for this English training program in the UK
There are many foreign students studying here, and as we are one of the Super Global universities aiming for further globalization in terms of educational environment, the number of foreign students will increase continuously. Under these circumstances, we, administrative staff, need to acquire enough English skills to meet the requests of our international students and establish an environment where they can make them comfortably study in Japan. Therefore, I’d set the goals of this training program that I should not only improve my English skills but also use my experience in the UK to encourage my colleagues to study English much harder.
The contents of the program
I attended classes in every weekdays for whole four weeks. All students must take an exam in the first day in the language center, and are divided into seven classes according to their English levels. Each class consists of about ten students who are different in country, age, cultural background. We were frequently required to express our opinions or feelings in the classes, and I was really stimulated by other students’ positive attitudes. I suppose I could learn practical English in the class compared with classes I’d experienced in Japan which were mainly focusing on acquiring reading and writing skills. Once in every week I had a chance to join a class trip visiting museums, parks and other cultural places near the language center, which taught me many things that I might not have been able to learn by studying only in the classroom. The language center is located in center of London and I could easily find nice places for lunch with friends after class and also for concentrating on doing homework. My accommodation was located in 40~50 minutes away from the center. Actually I was a bit anxious about homestaying, because it was the first time for me to live in someone’s home, but my host mother was so welcoming and I could experience the British culture through the time I spent with her. The staff in the language center were also very helpful and provided me comfortable stay there.
What I achieved and future goals
To be honest, four weeks are not enough to improve foreign languages, and I don’t think my English skills have dramatically improved, but I strongly believe that I could broaden my point of view through this overseas experience. Moreover, I’ve noticed what kind of anxiety or worrying foreign students coming to our university have. Now I’d like to give warm support for them to have good study experience here in Japan. In addition, I’m eager to continue studying English with keeping in my mind that acquiring a foreign language could be achieved only by lifelong learning. I would be so happy if this report of the UK training could motivate other staff members in my office to study English even harder.