Mechatronics students say konichiwa to Japan!

Think of Japan and what immediately comes to mind are pretty cherry blossoms, scenic mountains and idyllic farmlands, crowded eating houses hidden behind curtained doorways that whip up the most delectable ramen and sushi, as well as probably sashaying geishas in colourful kimonos.  But let’s not forget that Japan is also an economic powerhouse with some of the most advanced technology and manufacturing facilities in the world.

To check out for themselves what this rich and diverse country is like, a group of 40 students from the Diploma in Mechatronics (MTN) embarked on a 7D6N study trip to the land of the rising sun, from 12 to 18 Mar 2019.

During the highly enriching week-long trip, the students got to see, hear, touch – and even taste and smell – what Japan is like.  Besides visiting facilities such as Yaskawa Motoman robot factory, where they were introduced to high tech robotics and automation processes, as well as the Toyota production plant, Nippon Steel factory, FoodPal food production centre and Suntory brewery, the students also toured the Kita Kyushu Eco Town to find out about its recycling operations.  Stopping by the Nagasaki Atomic Museum, they got a sense of the nation’s history.  At the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, one of the country’s biggest educational institutions, they got a feel of what it is like to be a student there.

No trip to Japan would be complete without getting close to nature, so the students headed to Mount Aso, one of the most majestic volcanos in the region.  Next, they got down to the bread and butter of Japanese life by attending a workshop on how to make soba – one of the most addictive staples that the locals swear by.

Finally, the students finished off a fruitful week-long experience by spending a day with a host family under the Bungotaka farm-stay programme, during which they tried their hands in the fields and slept in the cosy tatami-lined rooms of rural country homes.  It was indeed a comprehensive and enriching study trip that they would never forget.

Students in the School of Engineering are given the opportunity to participate in such study trips, allowing them to learn outside the classroom and to gain global exposure, bringing education to life, and life to education.

From left: MTN students at Yaskawa robotics manufacturing plant, at a soba making workshop, and during a home-stay with Japanese hosts