The Corona pandemic has been going on longer than you might think. It has been a difficult time for those who were planning to go abroad or come from abroad to study, as well as for those whose hometowns are outside of Japan. Although it cannot compare to real events, I am amazed at the advancement of technology, such as video calls, where you can see the other person's face and talk with him or her.
Using this technology, I have recently been participating in an online philosophy café hosted by a school in London every weekend. There are two facilitators who inform us of the weekly assignments, and we learn from various words of philosophers, both ancient and modern east and west, and do some simple work according to these assignments.
During this work, breakout sessions are also created and discussed in pairs or groups of three or four. The backgrounds of the participants are varied. On one occasion, I had a discussion with a person who was born and raised in the UK, and on another occasion, I had a discussion with an international student from Asia. In discussions with participants from various backgrounds, I sometimes think, "Oh, that's similar," and other times I think, "This is very different. It's interesting.” It is a series of new discoveries. I also feel that it depends more on the personality of each individual than on their background.
By the way, I was recently introduced to the term "Bankoku Shinryo（万国津梁）" by an Okinawan. It originally comes from the words on the bell in front of Shuri Castle（首里城）. "Ryukyu（琉球） is an island of Horai（蓬莱）, located in the southern sea, between China and Japan, where ships serve as Shinryo（津梁）, or bridges, for all nations and trade is conducted, and the country is full of treasures."
Seeing this, I felt that it would be very nice if our university became an island of Horai and became a bridge between all countries. It is truly Beyond Borders. It would be great if bridges are built naturally as people come into contact with different cultures and open up to each other.
In the Student Support Room, we plan English Café, Chinese Café, Korean Café, and so on. You can find information about these events on our website and on manaba+R. Please join us when you have time.