August 14, 2017
Pre-training for the AY2017 University of Aizu Silicon Valley Internship Program began on August 14. For the next week, the eight UoA undergraduates, graduates, and international students participating in the program will learn the knowledge and skills they will need during their time abroad.
This program, which began two years ago as part of the University of Aizu's overseas internships, aims to allow students to visit Silicon Valley, the birthplace of countless new technologies and businesses, in order to experience its corporate culture, learn about advanced information and computing technology and the Maker Spirit, and engage in activities focus on making things. Further, this program lets students gain English communication skills through interaction with Silicon Valley engineers, allowing them to gain experience and mental strength they would never be able to gain through university lectures and exercises alone.
39 students attended the information session for this year's program, which received 14 applicants. From among these applicants, eight students were selected following screening and group interviews. During orientation on the 14th, the first day of the pre-training, Associate Professor Tatsuki Kawaguchi from the UoA Office for Strategy of International Programs (OSIP) provided points of caution regarding overseas travel and lead a class on cross-cultural understanding utilizing an active-learning format. Afterwards, the students split into groups and engaged in discussions on an assigned theme. Through activities like these, students learned that other people won't always share the same thoughts or feelings on a matter. They also learned the importance of learning about and understanding others when cooperating.
Over the next five days of pre-training, students will collaborate with a UoA alumni-launched venture company at the Aizu Geek Dojo located on campus to learn the basics of making things, including how to use the equipment they will be using.