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Transdisciplinary Program in College of Education Visits Kyushu University
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Transdisciplinary Program in College of Education, National Taiwan Normal University Visit Kyushu University, Japan, Initiating Dialogue on Bilateral Exchange Across “Interdisciplinary X Transboundary” Themes.

In June 2023, 14 senior students from the College of Education's Bachelor's program at National Taiwan Normal University (referred to as the Bachelor's program from this point) embarked on a seven-day interdisciplinary cultural exchange visit to Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. They were joined by three supervising faculty members. Students in the Bachelor's program are not allocated to specific departments during their first and second years. After being admitted, they are encouraged to explore and develop their professional interests through a range of departmental courses within the College of Education. By their third year, students are channeled into different departments (degree programs) where they continue to deepen their understanding in various fields. This visit included students from the Departments of Education, Educational Psychology and Counseling, Social Education, and Civic Education and Leadership, with the aim of integrating learning in their professional fields and enhancing their cross-disciplinary capabilities. The core concept of the Bachelor's program is 'Interdisciplinary', which implies 'cross-disciplinary X cross-border'. The Bachelor's program seeks to provide students with diverse interdisciplinary exploration opportunities, construct a platform for knowledge exchange and application across disciplines, and encourage students to broaden their horizons by stepping across regional boundaries and embracing international perspectives.

The visit primarily consisted of two components: classroom participation for interdisciplinary experience sharing and interaction, and in-depth cultural explorations. As part of the classroom participation, Bachelor's program students were expected to make presentations in English during Prof. Edward Vickers' course 'East Asian Images of Education' in the College of Education at Kyushu University. They discussed how Taiwanese culture has been profoundly influenced by Japanese culture, delving into historical context, popular culture such as food and music, architecture, and everyday life. After an entire semester of preparation and with guidance from their mentors, Prof. Chang Yulin and Assistant Prof. Hu Cuijun, the students progressively refined their presentation content and skills. Eventually, they managed to overcome their apprehensions about giving presentations in English and confidently shared their observations. The diverse international students in the class responded enthusiastically, appreciating the interactive format of the presentations and expressing their interest in learning more about Taiwan's perception of Japan.

Additionally, given that all students participating in this visit are from educational backgrounds, the School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation at Kyushu University arranged for them to attend Prof. Hall Andrew's 'Regional History' and Prof. Sevilla-Liu Anton's 'Ethics of Education' classes. The former's class on the day of the visit focused on gender issues, discussing the evolution of women's roles in historical contexts, while the latter explored how personal life stories are narrated. Before the classes, the students had already received and studied the reading materials, enabling them to engage in meaningful conversations with the Kyushu University students about the experiences of different countries. Following the class, they interacted with Dean Kaburagi Masahiko of the School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation, discussing their learning outcomes.

For the cultural visit, the students from the Bachelor's program were introduced to Kyushu University through comprehensive campus tours. Prof. Vickers guided the students during a visit to the museum located in Kyushu University's old engineering department and accompanied them to explore the fortress ruins around the school, originally built to resist Mongol invasions. The students also visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Peace Museum, thereby stepping into the shared historical memories of Japan and Taiwan. They examined historical events from various perspectives, collectively experiencing this profound cultural journey.

Beyond the interdisciplinary exchanges among students, the accompanying faculty members seized this opportunity to interact with scholars from Kyushu University's College of Education. They invited them to the international seminar 'Connecting Multiculturalism, Sustainability, and Teacher Education', co-hosted by the College of Education and the Asia-Pacific Association for Teacher Education (APATE) on October 19-20 of the same year. These interactions paved the way for further discussions on facilitating cross-national research collaboration between faculty members and students, aiming to provide more opportunities for academic exchanges and bilateral research in the future.

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