The Cardiff Japanese Studies Centre was established in 1989 and is recognised as one of the leading Japanese studies centres in Europe.
In the 1980s internationalization became a buzz word in Japan. Although it was not always clear what was meant by the term, most could agree that it was something positive. Since then, around the world, globalization has come to the fore, which appears to have as many detractors as supporters. Today, in the UK at least, internationalization is being spoken about more and more. Centres such as ours are at the spearhead of internationalization in higher education, providing the skills, knowledge and opportunities needed for developing the managers, translators, academics and leaders in their field of the future.
Internationalization is more than just about learning languages. Whilst providing the mechanisms for students to go from little, or no, Japanese language ability to being able to use it in the work-place is one of the aims of our Centre; it is not the only aim. To truly be able to use the Japanese language, one needs to understand the country. This means gaining a broad understanding of the history, culture, and a wide range of aspects of Japanese society; from politics to business, from environmental policies to pop culture, from the workings of its media to transport policy.
Learning how to interact with Japanese people is also key. Our students have opportunities to study in Japan at Japanese universities and alongside Japanese exchange students during their time in Cardiff. These experiences are central to the development of an understanding of Japan and to become internationalized. Furthermore, we have students from numerous countries around the world studying in the Centre. This international mix provides an exciting and important dynamic to both classes and also students’ personal development as they get exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking.
Lecturers in the Centre champion research-led teaching; bringing in to the classroom their expertise in their chosen field. This is not restricted to the lecturers in Japanese studies, but also includes the language lecturers in the Centre who can draw upon their knowledge of linguistics, for example, to enhance the way the Japanese language is taught. It is no wonder that last year our Centre saw such a high ratio of its staff receiving Certificates for Teaching Excellence based on the high scores given by students in the evaluation exercise.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Dr Seiko Harumi to the Centre as one of our Japanese Language Lecturers. Her appointment is yet another sign of our commitment to ensuring that students at Cardiff receive the best education in Japanese internationally.
If you would like any more information about the Centre, please do not hesitate to contact us at CJSC@Cardiff.ac.uk
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