Many foreign people arrive in Tsukuba every day. Some of them receive adequate information about living and working in Japan before or shortly after they arrive, but many do not. Due to language barriers and cultural differences, people who arrive in Japan without any formal support may have difficulty settling into their new lives. Without proper support, foreign residents who were very excited to come to Japan and make a new life can become disillusioned or depressed, and fail to enjoy all of the opportunities that are available to them.
In order to improve this situation, we are holding a half-day information session entitled “Tsukuba Orientation”. The orientation will be held on April 28 and it will be targeted at the international community in Tsukuba. We will ask people from the international community in Tsukuba and beyond to give 30 minute seminars on various topics of interest to both newcomers and residents. It is being organized as a co-operative effort involving Tsukuba City Hall and a number of other organizations that interact with the international community in Tsukuba. It will be held in Tsukuba Capio.
The orientation will consist of a short welcome speech, a number of information sessions on specific topics related to living in Tsukuba and Japan, and one session for people to meet with others from their own country. In the evening, we will hold a “Meet and Greet” reception.
The purpose of the Tsukuba Orientation is to provide an opportunity for new international residents of Tsukuba and its surrounding areas to learn about living in Japan, Japanese customs, interacting with Japanese neighbours and colleagues, studying Japanese, and other topics that will help them adjust to their lives in Tsukuba and Japan.
The objectives of the conference are:
The advantages of having this seminar will go beyond helping individual people adapt to their lives in Tsukuba. The seminar will act as a focal point in the community, and serve as a place where international and Japanese residents can come together to meet and welcome newcomers and get to know the other members of our community. It has often been noted that Tsukuba has a lot of foreigners, but that students mainly interact with other students, researchers with researchers, and teachers with teachers. Usually these groups are further fragmented on organizational lines, so AIST researchers only interact with other AIST researchers (or worse, only other AIST researchers in their own laboratories). There is also a tendency for international residents to form groups based on nationality lines. As a result, there are a lot of foreigners in Tsukuba, but the truth is that they do not interact with each other on a regular basis. It would strengthen the community a great deal if those lines were broken down and people were given an opportunity to get to know each other better.
In addition, by allowing the international community to create a stronger network, the conference aims to decrease the amount of pressure placed on the people whose job it is to support the foreign residents (academic advisors, host researchers, bosses, etc). Holding this kind of seminar will allow the international community to "help them help themselves".
Please note: Certain organizations in Tsukuba provide orientation sessions for their students and employees. This conference is not meant to replace those sessions, but to supplement them.