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Northumbria strengthens Japanese links

29th July 2015

Northumbria University is strengthening its links with Japan to give more students the chance to experience the island nation’s diverse cultures.

The University has now formally partnered with two leading Japanese universities - Nagasaki University and Tokyo Metropolitan University – and is in talks with more than three other institutions about joining forces. The agreements will help Northumbria continue to open up opportunities for students reading across a wide range of different subjects and will increase research opportunities for staff – both in the UK and in Japan.

Andrew Lane, Northumbria’s Deputy Director for International Development, said the Japanese universities have been selected as partners on the basis of their sector specialisms and their geographical locations, which together will help to create life-changing experiences for students. 

He explained: “Although we have a vast range of strong partnerships across Asia, we recognised that we needed to increase our profile and presence in Japan. We worked with the British Council in Japan to draw up a list of suitable partners and they then made the approaches on our behalf. 

“The British Council has been very supportive of the project as it coincides with both renewed interest in the UK amongst Japanese students, and efforts by the Japanese Government to encourage more students to undertake study abroad.

“We’re also responding to an increasing desire from our students to study overseas, often beyond Europe.  We want to give our students experience of the different parts of Japan: each of the islands has very different cultures and distinct identities. Our aim is to create institutional partnerships moving across Japan, with partnerships starting in the west and extending up to Tokyo and hopefully beyond. Our goal is to offer a chain of opportunities to students across Japan; for them to experience something from each of the worlds.”

Northumbria’s international team has carefully identified universities with specialisms matching Northumbria’s profiles and interests, including architecture, product design, nursing, disaster management, sport, social sciences, business, and art and design. Northumbria University staff have already visited the institutions and have started to receive reciprocal visits from Japanese university staff.

The project complements the Japanese government’s Top Global Universities initiative which aims to increase outbound mobility amongst Japanese students, and opportunities for international students to undertake part of their degree in Japan, for example by improving the range of programmes taught in English.

Previously, Northumbria’s main university-level link with Japan was with Momoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo although it has welcomed small numbers of students from Japan each year, particularly in Art and Design.

In 2014, the University started to see more applications for exchange places in Japan, and Andrew is confident that this will continue as the new partnerships build.

Andrew added: “We want to help students become global citizens. Students who go to Japan tend to have a really life-changing experience as the culture is so vastly different from the UK. This is going to create fantastic opportunities for students to study at universities which have very strong global profiles.”

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