Students of Russian and Japanese universities discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market during an online student exchange project.
From June 18 to July 2, ETU “LETI” together with Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan) conducted an online project COVID-19: Current Impact and Future Workplace. Students of the two universities analyzed the relationship between promising education areas and the changes that societies and the labor market in the two countries experienced during the coronavirus pandemic. The facilitators of the program were Maria Kiseleva, Head of the International Academic Mobility Department of ETU “LETI,” and Shizuyo Asai, Overseas Education Coordinator at Ritsumeikan University.
The project involves 10 students from each university, who were divided into 5 mixed groups and jointly performed the tasks. From ETU “LETI,” the students from faculties of Industrial Automation and Electrical Engineering, Radio Engineering, and Information Measurement and Biotechnical Systems worked in teams.
“The idea of this online project was born as soon as we switched to distance learning. In this situation, when the borders are closed and the usual mobility of students is impossible, it is important to support their motivation in learning. It was very interesting to see how enthusiastic the students were. The result of their joint work was amazing presentations, which the students defended. Each group also wrote an analytical article on the results of the project. We hope that during the online project the participants not only gained interesting experience but also friends! We plan to continue such online projects in the fall semester as well.” – Maria Kiseleva, the facilitator of the project, Head of the International Academic Mobility Department of ETU “LETI”
In groups, students reviewed the current situation in the markets of the two countries and shared their thoughts on how companies could transform their business in the new environment. One of the topics discussed by the project participants was the relevance of receiving education within the priority R&D areas of ETU “LETI”: from Artificial Intelligence to Electrical Technology and Power Engineering.
“In my opinion, this is a very important project. It allows students to look at their future and our education in this context through the prism of Japan, an international project. It is also important for us, the organizers, because we are building our educational process for the students taking into account their future employment, and now the situation in the world is difficult because of coronavirus. The participants acquire certain skills of analyzing the situation and give us food for thought: what we need to do to help our graduates,” Yuri Sentyabrev, Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Automation and Electrical Engineering, said.
Participants discussed not only the impact of COVID-19 on the economy as a whole but also how the situation affects young people and their future work. They looked at examples of support for students, many of whom have lost their part-time jobs, and what skills they need to develop to succeed in a changing world.
“Joint work with Russian and Japanese students left only positive impressions: the dialogue on the impact of the current situation on our future was lively and active, the difference in our specialties allowed us to look at the problem from the different sides and make some conclusions for ourselves. Also, it was very interesting to see the attitude and approach of Japanese students to the joint work: I was impressed by their courtesy and dedication at each stage of the project.” – Nikolay Kravtsov, a student of the English-taught master’s program RF, Microwave and Terahertz Engineering of Wireless Systems at ETU “LETI”
The exchange program allowed participants to gain English language practice and experience working in an international team, as well as to expand their knowledge of the culture of another country. Russian students were surprised by the fact that in Japan it is usual to work for one company for many years, and students search for a job through a centralized system.
“I was lucky with the team: we worked together on the same presentation, and perfectly complimented each other. Although it seemed difficult at first, in the end, we got a good result. It was very interesting to work on the project with Japanese colleagues and at the same time to discover the world of Japan! I learned a lot about the Japanese way of life, and I also amazed them with facts about Russia that they had never heard of. Thanks to this project, I made a lot of friends from Japan. We plan to keep in touch with the guys and see each other in the future! I want to say a special thanks to the organizers, Maria Kiseleva and Shizuyo Asai. Everything was so well planned that you are even surprised: how did you manage to do it through at a distance of 8000 kilometers? It was an unforgettable experience!” Alina Popadina, a 3rd-year student of the Faculty of Information Measurement and Biotechnical Systems, shared her impressions.
The student groups summed up the results of their work by making a final presentation on 25 June, presenting their vision of the labor market. At the end of the online student exchange project, the participants wrote joint articles.
“During the project, I was able to work with Japanese students on one task together, which showed the culture of this country from a completely different perspective. Of course, the whole interaction did not last long, and the different time zones sometimes made communication difficult. But even this experience was enough to gain some insight into Japanese corporate and student culture. I would love to take part in a similar project again. I also hope that we will not lose touch with the guys from our group and continue to communicate outside of this project.” – Karina Mokleva, a PhD student of the Department of Automatic Control Systems
ETU “LETI” and Ritzumeykan University, together with the three largest universities in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, are part of a consortium that hosts the Joint Workshop for Global Engineers in Asia and Beyond. The event aims to establish connections and develop joint research projects between employees, researchers, and students of five universities. In 2018, ETU “LETI” representatives took part in a workshop that took place at the Ritsumeikan University. In 2021, it is planned to hold the event on the site of the electrotechnical university.
Representatives of ETU “LETI” and Ritzumeykan University have concluded an agreement on cooperation between universities, which provides for academic exchanges of teachers and students, organization of joint topical schools and workshops, scientific conferences, joint supervision of postgraduate students.