7 September 2023

Japanese students discover Malaysia’s rich culture through Swinburne Sarawak’s immersion program

KUCHING – In a remarkable journey of cross-cultural exploration and sustainable enlightenment, 47 students from Showa Gakuin Shuei High School, Japan embarked on Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus’ Young Learners Immersion Program – a two-week journey that transcended borders and boundaries.

Held from 22 July to 5 August 2023 in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur, the program proved to be an invaluable platform for the visiting students to broaden their horizons and gain first-hand insights into Malaysia’s diverse cultures, rich heritage, religious practices and pioneering sustainability efforts.

With an innovative curriculum curated by Swinburne Innovation Malaysia Sdn Bhd (SWIM), the students delved into an array of enlightening seminars, outdoor excursions, study visits and cuisines. These were made possible also by the program’s delivery partners Hubridy Sdn Bhd and Rosa Dayut Catering.

One of the program’s defining moments was when the Japanese students joined their counterparts at St Joseph’s International School, Kuching in class, sharing insights and even a lunch period, bridging cultural gaps and fostering friendships.

Amidst their cultural voyage, the visiting students explored the charming alleys of Kuching’s historic old city, with locations such as Carpenter Street evoking a sense of timelessness and immersing them in the rich historical ambience and heritage of the city.

The Japanese students explore Carpenter Street.

The Japanese students explore Carpenter Street.

The students also participated in a university lecture at Swinburne Sarawak, providing them with a glimpse into the world of higher education in Malaysia and academic pursuits. During a session on STEM, the young learners were exposed to the cutting-edge realms of science, igniting curiosity and inspiration that may well shape their academic paths.

“Beyond the books and traditional lessons, we aimed to provide these young minds with an intimate understanding of the vibrant cultures, religions and sustainable practices thriving in Malaysia,” said SWIM Chief Executive Officer Professor Wallace Wong Shung Hui

“By offering these immersive experiences, we hope to nurture a generation of global citizens who appreciate diversity, practise tolerance and champion environmental sustainability,” he added.

Mr Kentaro Tsunoda, a teacher from Showa Gakuin Shuei High School who accompanied the group, described the program as instructive and fruitful for the students.

“Because of Covid-19, they didn’t have a chance to go abroad or even to communicate with others in English. Thanks to the help of all of you in Sarawak, especially the assistants and buddies at Swinburne, our students had a precious and unforgettable experience. For many of them, it was really their first time speaking English not as a school subject but as a genuine means of communication,” said Kentaro.

“They learned a lot through the variety of activities Swinburne Sarawak prepared. I hope our students will have a greater interest in engineering, cutting-edge hydroponics, programming, forest conservation, communicating in English and above all, the cultures, ethnicity and cuisines of Sarawak. We deeply appreciate this opportunity with Swinburne Sarawak – thank you so much and terima kasih,” he said.

Throughout the immersion program, environmental consciousness emerged as a pivotal theme. The students delved into Malaysia’s environmental sustainability initiatives, gaining a holistic perspective on the nation’s efforts to preserve its natural heritage for generations to come. As they engaged with local experts, the young learners were inspired to reflect upon their own roles as stewards of the planet, spurring responsible and eco-conscious actions.

The Japanese students visit Serapi Farm, a modern agricultural farm at Matang, to experience the complete agricultural process from sowing to packaging.

The Japanese students visit Serapi Farm, a modern agricultural farm at Matang, to experience the complete agricultural process from sowing to packaging.

As a symbol of their commitment to environmental sustainability, the students participated in a tree-planting initiative at a nature reserve site in Lundu, hence breathing life into their aspirations for a greener and more sustainable future. They were also introduced to Kuching city’s call to eliminate the use of plastic straws, with the chance to experience using rice straws.

The Swinburne Young Learners Immersion Program stands as a testament to the power of experiential education and cultural exchange. In an increasingly interconnected world, programs like this offer more than mere knowledge; they cultivate empathy, spark innovation and lay the foundation for a future where global citizens can rise above cultural differences to create a world that is more understanding, inclusive and sustainable.

Through this transformative immersion, the young minds of Showa Gakuin Shuei High School, Japan have undoubtedly taken a significant stride towards shaping a brighter tomorrow.

For more information on Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website (www.swinburne.edu.my), Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram page (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk), TikTok page (@swinburnesarawak) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).

Media Enquiries

Tania Lam
Officer (Communication and Events)

Related news

Statement on Recent Swinburne Sarawak Student Incident

Read more

Swinburne Sarawak academic appointed as member of ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee

Read more

Swinburne Sarawak academics present research at European Society of Cardiology Congress 2023

Read more