Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University



AP House Fostering International Learning

May 16, 2007

Two new extensions were added to AP House (student dormitories) at APU in March this year. AP House now accommodates over 1200 students with thirty percent consisting of domestic (Japanese) students and the remaining seventy percent hailing from overseas. Up till now, the dormitories consisted of 'individual' rooms. The new buildings boast 378 unique 'share-type' rooms, which accommodate two students – one domestic and one international student respectively. The communal space has also been expanded in the existing dormitories, which is conducive to promoting inter-cultural exchange between domestic and international residents.
As well as providing comfortable accommodation for students, AP House aims to achieve the following four goals in international education.
1. To promote cross-cultural understanding and to assist international students with living in Japan.
2. To nurture a sense of belonging in society (the dormitory), sense of commitment and moral values.
3. To motivate students and foster good study habits.
4. To strengthen students' foreign language skills

The educational programs aim to foster residents with the ability to lead within a multicultural context, who will pursue active roles within the global community in the future.

From April this year, APS Professor FUKUI Hayao assumed the role of AP House Master. His central role involves counseling residents and initiating in-house programs.

In commenting on the qualities of AP House and developments in progress, Prof. Fukui said, "Co-habitation in the highly cosmopolitan atmosphere of AP House renders an educational experience in itself. Living in the college dormitory helps residents realize that "One can choose friends, but not neighbors". A fact that is indispensable to the process of socialization. One of the unique features of AP House is the diverse range of 'neighbors' (residents) from all over the world."

Along with the construction of new buildings in AY2007, a new policy aimed at strengthening the educational role of AP House is being implemented. The new policy aims to achieve 1) the greater involvement of faculty and staff in the activities of AP House and 2) the promotion of self-initiated learning among residents.

"AP House seminars" will be implemented to achieve the former objective of faculty and staff involvement. Every month, a different faculty or staff member will give a talk at AP House followed by a question and answer session. The speaker will then stay overnight in the dormitory so that conversations can run into the wee hours. APU President Cassim kicked-off this program by holding the first AP House Seminar on April 24th, 2007.

To achieve the goal of fostering self study among residents, a regular reading circle will be held whereby participants can read and interpret passages of text by turns. Books, including short-texts which have been published into Japanese and English, will be used as the resource. This program has concurrent aims to strengthen language skills and increase knowledge.

Books on Japanese themes such as 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' by Ruth BENEDICT, 'Bushido' by NITOBE Inazo and other notable selections, will be set aside for the international residents of AP House. In the field of political science, 'Imagined Communities' by Benedict ANDERSON and Montesquieu's 'The Spirit of the Laws' will be included. For residents who are interested in environmental issues, two classics 'Silent Spring' by Rachel CARSON and 'The Limits to Growth' by Donella H. et al will be focused on. Examining the Japanese manga 'Doraemon' translated into ten different languages should also provide a challenge to residents.

A branch office of the Student Support Center has recently been established inside the lobby of AP House 1. This is where the planning and administration of programs held inside and outside of the dormitory will take place, as well as student consultations about dormitory life. The Office hours of the Branch Office are Weekdays 13:00 - 17:30.

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