Students participating in the Consortium program
Written by MUELC's Regional Manager, Education Planning & Development, Mayumi Sakuragi
Last month, close to 140 Japanese university students broadened their cultural and academic experience by taking part in Monash College's annual Consortium Program. The Consortium Program is a unique, flagship study group program conducted annually by the Monash University English Language Centre (MUELC). It brings students together from top universities in Japan, most of which are Monash University partners.
Through an immersion experience of living and studying in Melbourne, the program enhances inter-cultural competence, fosters global citizenry, develops English language and communication skills, and expands knowledge and understanding of Australian culture and society.
The groups were involved in various extra-curricular activities during the program including school and neighbourhood house visits, guided environmental walks, team building exercises conducted by Monash Sport, a presentation by Monash Abroad and cultural exchange activity with the Faculty of Arts Japanese Studies students.
It is well documented that Japanese universities must, and intend to, ensure graduates are well equipped with knowledge to succeed on a global stage. However, it appears that a decreasing number of Japanese students are choosing to study abroad. The Japanese government recognises this issue and provides scholarships for short term study abroad programs. Several Japanese universities participating in the Consortium Program have secured this funding. The Consortium Program has been successful in facilitating longer term study abroad option with students going on to exchange programs.
The program started in 2006 with 27 students from three universities. In 2012, the program grew to 139 students from seven universities with an even bigger group expected next year.
MUELC's consulting service (Education Planning and Development team) has played a key role in liaising with multiple Japanese universities and developing the program.
A student from Osaka University will be returning to MUELC in the next 18 months to study five weeks of English on a scholarship. The scholarship was awarded to the student who best addressed the topic "I am a global citizen".