Wednesday , 20 March 2019

Learning in the land of the Cherry Blossoms 

Nine students with a professor of the Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar were a part of the Sakura Exchange Program in Science, in Japan funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). NT KURIOCITY finds out more about their visit

In a bid to introduce Indian students to Japanese culture and the opportunities available for their higher studies and prospective career options in the country, nine students with professor Vishnu Chari were selected to be a part of a ten-day Sakura Exchange Program in Science to Japan.

The idea of the Japanese Government-funded student exchange programme was conceptualised and crystallised during the 8th India-Japan Science and Technology Conference, held in Goa in August 2017. Thereafter, a proposal was submitted by principal, Vrinda Borker to JST. Upon the proposal’s acceptance, the students were screened based on their academic performance.

In Japan, the students visited various places that represent the current state of development of science and technology in the country, and also those which reflect their cultural heritage. They were engaged in lectures and practical demonstrations. Sybil Pereira, a third year student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry says that the trip to Japan was very helpful as she experienced a little of everything. From Japanese food, the highly advanced technology, JEOL that manufactures some of the world’s finest electron microscopes; the Miraikan museum – the advances in the field of robotics and genetics, she says, was simply amazing. Sybil  adds: “We were lucky to see Asimo, the robot who talks and sings. It was extremely nice to see how clean the country was.” Additionally, the crossing the roads over to the other side sans a zebra crossing or a traffic signal was a very different experience.

The Goan students also had the opportunity to interact with the Japanese students and some of the officials involved in this programme. Sybil says that the exchange program certainly helped in widening her knowledge base. “The department we were associated with was the bio-nano centre. In India, the preferred careers in science are medicine or engineering. But bio-nano sciences itself has a number of branches and is a constantly growing field. We learnt about nanoparticles, its use in cancer treatment research, for making bendable objects – even phones – and experiments to use plants as a source of light. The program has made most of us seriously consider pursuing our further studies abroad.”

Apart from the knowledge they earned in Japan, what really stuck with Sybil was that even though Japan is so highly developed, the people haven’t forgotten their roots, they follow old traditions, and are very proud of their culture.

Another final year student, Amrita Naik, narrates that the entire Sakura Exchange Program was a great learning experience. She learnt about nanotechnology and its various applications to mankind. “As I want to pursue research, I would love to work in any top universities in Japan as they are very well equipped. We got a chance to work in few of their many well-equipped labs. I had never seen many of the instruments before, here in Goa but got chance to work with some of them,” says Amrita.


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