Cultural vs. academic exchange brings students closer

Kiran R. Khan- Sheridan News

Travelling to a different country is exciting. Sheridan students are given this opportunity by visiting Japan and see how different life is in that Far East country as part of a student exchange program.

“The Sheridan/Osaka electro-communication university Japan exchange is a cultural and academic exchange between our two very similar schools,” said Michael Jones, a professor and program coordinator at Sheridan.

Jones has been working at Sheridan for nine years. He has been involved in the Sheridan/OECU exchange for six years.

“In March 2014, 10 students and two faculty from OECU will visit Sheridan,” Jones said. “They will visit 20 classes and labs on campus, touring two animation studios in Toronto, and participating in cultural tours around the GTA.”

Sheridan Students and UTM students will be reciprocating in May 2014. They will tour the animation, illustration, and digital games courses at OECU. Students will also get a chance to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima before ending the visit in Tokyo.

Students from previous exchange events say it’s been the highlight of their studies.

“The Sheridan OCEU exchange was an amazing experience for me,” said Jalisa Henry, a recent graduate from Sheridan’s Bachelors of Illustration program. “The staff and students were incredibly friendly, and did everything they could to make sure that our experience went as smooth as possible.”

Henry has hosted a Chinese OECU student from Japan in Sept. 2011 for two weeks, and she went to Japan in May 2012.

“For anyone who is curious about the program, I would strongly recommend it,” Henry said. “You learn so much about the Canadian and Japanese culture, as well as forging friendships that literally transcend language and cultural barriers if you’re open and willing to give it a shot.”

Students who are interested in the exchange program are asked to complete an application and eventually get paired with a Japanese student. Japanese students will stay with Canadian hosts for two weeks and show them around before the Canadian students get a chance to visit OECU.

“Students pay approximately $2500 for the whole visit, much of which covers flight and transportation in Japan,” Jones said.

Jones said that students are “home stayed” in Japan with Japanese families, reducing costs.

Given the interests of OECU students the itinerary includes visits to both Trafalgar and Davis campus, focusing on the faculty of animation, arts and design.

Students arrive on campus Friday March 7 and will be around Trafalgar campus March 10,11,13, and 18. Students who are willing to participate can fill out an application form by visiting: