so this weekend I had the opportunity to work as an adjudicator at an English Science Conference for Japanese Senior High School students. Luckily, this conference took place at Kobe University’s Centennial Hall – this building was right across from the Kobe University International Language building. The building where I studied the Kobe Summer Japanese Program in 2016, the program which allowed me to explore Japan 3 years ago. How the times have changed.
5th Science Conference in Hyogo – Learning Science Through English
Now, there were no prizes given out to these students as this was just a conference where they received the opportunity to present their work. Nonetheless, I was able to provide students with feedback and advice for the future. They had various interesting topics such as: “Can regional slime be used as fertilizer?” or “Fibonacci sequence and Random Numbers”. If there was one question I wanted to have answered by the students, it was “why is this research important?” That may be the next step in their journeys though. As I graduated by doing an undergraduate thesis, it felt great that I could try to provide these students with encouragement and useful feedback for their futures.
Seeing these students try to present in English was fantastic. Okay, so they didn’t quite understand all of the scientific words they put on their posters. I asked a student to explain what a monopoly was, as they had written it on their posted – my Professor always told me if you use a word you had better know what it means. Maybe, I’m just a hard judge. However, seeing all these students present their science really made me appreciate how much time and effort my university supervisor put into making me think like a proper scientist. I must say, it is not easy; so, I commend all of these students doing their utmost best – despite not knowing how to explain what an inhibitor is.
Returning back to Kobe University
It’s been 3 years since I’ve been back to Kobe University and was studying under Tanaka Sensei. We stayed at the Chisun Hotel where we could take a 15 minute train ride to get to the Rokko campus from the Hankyuu Line at Kosuke Kobe station. By chance, Kosoku Kobe station is right by the JR Kobe station, so I had to take the exact same route to get to the Science Conference which I took 3 years ago. It was so nostalgic, coming back as an employee of Japan rather than just studying.
As I returned to Rokko station, the infamous 15 minute walk up the giant hill to Kobe was something that I was ecstatic to do. I had to walk up that mountain for about a week, heck when I did my summer exchange program – someone took a taxi up the hill because the climb was too rigorous. Unfortunately, when I got to the conference the shirt I intended to wear was soaked in the back area. Luckily, I brought a spare.
I went up to the top of the hill seeing the tennis courts and the iconic view of the Centennial Hall. I heard that this view allows one to see most of Kobe and a portion of Osaka, it has been 3 years and although the view hasn’t changed, I sure have.
Due to the conference being run on a weekend the International Student Building was closed, and I was unable to visit my old classroom. Though that didn’t spoil my experience of visiting the Kobe University Campus. Just the feeling of coming back was enough for me. I will say this though, one of my good friends named Daisuke told me something before I left, “Living and visiting Japan are 2 entirely different things.” After being in Japan for approximately a year, I can definitely say he was correct. I’m glad he didn’t tell me anything else because I learn new things about Japan every day. So that the next time I return to Kobe University, I’ll have even better memories to look back on with a smile.
P.S: If you’re at a university or college which is partnered with Kobe University, here is the link of the summer program I attended. It’s a great opportunity to get exposure to Japan and meet people from around the world. I still talk to two of my friends I made during that trip.