Mr. Naoya Horiguchi and Ms. Ma Dongxue, third-year students of the University of Aizu and Mr. Taichi Komine, a first-year student of the University of Aizu, have finished their three-week program (March 4, 2009 - March 26) at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, state of Indiana, U.S.A. on UoA's Short-Term Study Program at RHIT for Academic Year 2008.
Here are the reports on their study and daily life at RHIT.
Mr. Naoya Horiguchi
In this Short-Term Study Program, we stayed at a hotel in Terre Haute City for two days, at the homestay for the next two days, and at RHIT for rest of the eighteen days. We stayed at a RHIT professor's house during the homestay. It was my first time to live with host family, but they were so kind and friendly that I could feel at ease. Although it was only two days, I really enjoyed playing with children, going hiking and restaurants, watching movies and playing video games. I'm sure I could feel the local culture, customs and values through the life in the ordinary American family.
In RHIT, I stayed at dormitory with other two sophomore students. Most of RHIT students including roommates were interested in Japan and actively talked to me, so I could adapt to school life easily. Because the term of this program was short, I tried to take as various classes as possible. There were some humanity classes related to Japan or China, and they were very helpful to understand American thoughts on Asia. This was the second time for me to go to America. While last time was N.Y., the key player in the global economy, this time was Indiana, the agricultural and manufacturing state. Therefore I could learn new aspect of America. I would like to continue studying English and try something new to broaden my knowledge.
Ms. Ma Dongxue
I had heard from my seniors and teachers that the university students and classes in USA are very different from in Japan. I was very interested in how different they would be, so I applied for this program. I went to America with three questions: in what style the classes are conducted, how the students take the classes, and what kind of homework the teachers give the students. To search for the answer, I went to classes and asked friends these questions at RHIT. I divided the classes into three groups: Computer Science, Humanities and other types of classes.
Computer Science classes are essentially the same as Japan. The teachers specify textbooks, make slides for their class and ask students questions during the class. The teachers and TA will help you in exercise class. The difference between Japanese students and students at RHIT was that students were very active asking questions in class. Quizzes were often used in Humanities classes. Another feature of classes at RHIT was a great deal of reading. The majority of homework was reading textbook. I also attended a presentation given by a Rose-Hulman professor. Both students and professors attended the presentation. The presentation was not like a presentation in Japan, it was not somber and everyone could participate in. To encourage people to come, cookies and drinks were offered to attendees. Most commonly, teachers assigned students a project as their homework. Students have a great spirit of challenge, and they choose a difficult project rather than choose easy one. Through this Short-Term Study Program, I experienced what it was like to study in USA and new styles of classes. As a result of these experiences, I would like to make better classes when I become a teacher.
Mr. Taichi Komine
I stayed Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for 3 weeks from March 4. Fortunately, I had a chance to stay at one of professors' house for few days as homestay. Since it was my initial experience, I got nervous, but the host family was so kind to me, and I really enjoyed my stay.
At RHIT, I didn't try to focus on taking a few classes but took many lectures. Form of liberal Arts lectures that I took was mainly discussion. Professors ask questions, and students answer them. Lectures seem to be composed by students and professors, but I couldn't keep up with them because it was fast and I didn't have enough knowledge of the lectures. In Computer Science lectures, students use their laptop and also use the laptop to do homework and exercise. There are many tables and chairs everywhere in the campus, and they can access to the wireless internet. So they do homework or lessons when they wait for a next class or when they don't have a class. Student at RHIT is brilliant, because they play as well as they study.
I spent beneficial time with them. I stayed only 3 weeks, but I experienced so many things. I would like to put these experiences to account for my campus life.