Japanese students visit Sheridan for a two-week long exchange program

Japanese Exchange Students


Eight Sheridan students will be taking part in a cultural exchange between the college and the Osaka Electro-Communications University this May.

“This is currently an in-house program and we’re looking for someone to adopt it to keep it going,” said Michael Jones, coordinator of the Communications Culture Information and Technology (CCIT) program.

The group visiting Japan includes four students from the CCIT program, one from Computer Systems Technology—Systems Analyst, one from animation and another from the Game Level Design program, and a student who was a host to a previous group from Japan.

OECU students pay close attention

According to Jones, the exchange trip will cost students $2,500 covering primarily transportation in Japan. The flight to Japan is about $1,500, public transit adds another $300 to $400, “with a few hundred over and above if they want to take back gifts.”

The exchange program was open to students from programs such as animation, Game Level Design, computing and within CCIT. Jones hopes that in future years the exchange will be an elective offered to a wider audience tied to specific programs.

The Sheridan students are going in the wake of a visit by 10 Japanese students, a two-week trip that concluded on March 18. The Japanese students were from the Digital Art and Animation, and Digital Gaming programs at the Osaka university.

Sheridan is the only college in North America to have such a cultural exchange program with a university in Japan, said Jones.

“The idea is that somebody will be inspired to come back and study here. Some of our students have gone over there to study in Japan,” he said.

Journalism prof. Denni Freedman gives the group a tour of the Sheridan Sun

Journalism prof. Denni Freedman gives the group a tour of the Sheridan Sun

The Osaka students toured various programs within Sheridan. This year they also went to the Davis Campus to check out technical programs. Jones said some of the students visited the life-drawing class and “they sat down and started drawing. That was great.”

The group also took a trip to downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls. The purpose of the tour was to expose the students to Canadian post-secondary education and life in Canada.

“I was surprised, because everything is bigger than Japan,” said student Okuda Masaaki, interviewed with the help of professor/interpreter Hitoshi Kanamura.

The students knew a bit of English and could introduce themselves using the customary phrase, “My name is —.”

“It is difficult to communication in different language,” said Tomoyuki Ukai. “I saw many student works, and they stimulated me.”

Exchange students were eager to learn about technology being used by the Journalism program

Exchange students were eager to learn about technology being used by the Journalism program

The Japanese students stayed in Canadian households with volunteers hosting them as part of the exchange program. This helped give them a taste of day-to-day Canadian life. They were given breakfast and dinner at the host’s house, but they were responsible for any expenses incurred while sightseeing.

A few of the students were being hosted in residence at Sheridan, and they saw animation and design students hard at work even after classes had concluded.

“I have stayed in the residence and I could know how students studied,” said Sari Matsuura. “I could [see] many students working on projects and that’s very interesting.”

The 10 visitors were impressed with the technology at the disposal of Sheridan students and the work being produced.

“I’m surprised that Sheridan students [is] work very high quality,” said Yudai Ochi. “I think I should work harder than before.”

Comicon, the annual comic book convention, was one of the attractions the Japanese contingent was lucky enough to visit during their stay here.

“I was surprised, I went to Comicon, and it is almost the same as Japanese events,” said Ochi. “I didn’t expect [it to be] so popular in Canada.”

The students, although tired from their 14-day whirlwind trip, went back vowing to return to Canada for a longer stay.

“I am enjoying Canadian life,” said Matsuura. “I’m thinking to come back here for longer duration to study languages, and if I choose to come to another country, it is in Canada.”

The interaction between Sheridan and Osaka students inspired the visitors work harder at their studies when the get home.

“I spend time being lazy,” said Yo Suzuki. “I didn’t take work serious, so I want to be more aggressive for work, and I want to tell my friends to be more serious and competitive for work.”

Some samples of OECU student projects, contributed by OECU students:

Stills from a digital animation film created by Keisuke Kushima

Stills from a digital animation film created by Keisuke Kushima

Poster by Yu Suzuki

Poster by Yu Suzuki













Digital animation by Yudai Ochi

Digital animation by Yudai Ochi