A group of Japanese business students and their professor visited Weber State University this week, finding that students here are more serious and more interactive in their classes than those at the Keio University in Japan.
The students, who were chosen by their professor Hideo Suzuki to travel to WSU, had the opportunity to present their research in WSU’s business classes. Suzuki and student Fan Liang noted that the instructors and their students engaged in discussion during class time.
“I think it’s a good experience to see . . . how American students take class,” Liang said. “Actually, it’s the first time I came to America. It’s quite different from Japan, you know. In Japan, maybe almost all the students just sit in the class and don’t make more communication with (the) professor or with each other, but in the United States, you see in the class they have communication.”
According to Suzuki, it is the way of Japanese culture to have a “teacher tend to (lecture) one way.”
Suzuki, Liang and another student, Yo Takahashi, also noted that students here seem to be more serious.
“It is often said American student is much more serious compared with Japanese students, and I think this is true after we came to America,” student Yo Takahashi said.
WSU business professor Shane Schvaneveldt is a longtime friend of Suzuki’s and explained that in Japan, it is more difficult for students to be accepted into a university and usually take their schooling before college more seriously than their college experience. Drawing from his own time spent in Japan as a university student, Schvaneveldt said that “Japanese university courses are at a higher level than similar courses in the United States. I do agree that there is a difference in the amount of routine homework involved. ”
“Of course they take their classes, and they’re somewhat serious about that, but (there is) a lot of socializing and not as much pressure,” Schvaneveldt said. “If you do an okay job of your (college) coursework, then you can probably graduate. But in the United States . . . it’s easier to get admitted to the university but it’s hard to do all of the coursework and to persevere and to graduate; there’s no guarantee you’re going to graduate.”
The students also visited a Japanese business language class. For the majority of the 50-minute class, they visited with the WSU students, ultimately staying an additional 30 minutes past class time to converse.
WSU senior Russell Hunsaker said he appreciated the chance to speak and “brush up on” the Japanese language.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had so much Japanese going on around me, you know,” Hunsaker said. “I served a mission in Japan, so it was nostalgic, I guess you could say, for that reason.”
Suzuki said that the purpose of the trip was to allow his students to “experience a university in America. Maybe in the future they will have to work international. So it’s very useful.”
According to Schvaneveldt, WSU also benefited from their visit through the bridging of the “potential partnerships” and the sharing of their culture, as many students here are not able to travel abroad.
“So with them attending the class and having some discussions, when we exchanged research presentations with each other, that gave our students a chance to see students from another country also doing research on the kinds of topics and issues and experiences they’re having and compare it to themselves and learn from each other,” Schvaneveldt said.