Niigata University Laboratory Science student Akari Tsujikawa could hardly wait to experience problem-based learning (PBL) during her recent visit to McMaster University. From March 7-11, 2016, the Global Health Office hosted the 10th annual academic exchange with Japan's Niigata University.
“I was looking forward to learning actively with a small group,” says Tsujikawa, who joined two other students and two faculty members in visiting McMaster for the intense week-long experience. “But what I experienced was much more than that,” she says, explaining that, “I gained the ability to say my opinion without hesitating,” referring to the cultural context in which students are encouraged to contribute to class discussion.
Funded by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), the Canada Study Tour is designed to provide Japanese students with the chance to learn about health sciences at McMaster, to explore PBL first-hand, and to experience cultural differences in teaching/learning styles between Canadian and Japanese universities.
Student Naoto Kamiyama, who is currently studying to be a medical technologist, said that the Tour provided “a global viewpoint,” while colleague medical laboratory science student Yuki Orimo explained the experience offered an opportunity “to learn in a creative and positive way.”
In addition to exploring PBL, the week’s activities included a campus tour, tours of the Anatomy and Health Sciences laboratories, a visit to the Michener Institute, and presentations from Health Sciences faculty. In addition, Dr. Brenda Gamble from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology delivered a presentation focused on medical laboratory science, including information about the profession, training and regulation, practice criteria, and current issues. The tour ended with student presentations that highlighted their experiences.
Andrea Baumann, director of the Global Health program, said, “We are proud to be in our 10th year of hosting this important academic and cultural exchange. It puts into practice one of the internationalization objectives outlined in McMaster University president Dr. Patrick Deane’s Forward With Integrity: to meaningfully incorporate global perspectives into student learning.”