As one of the major thrusts of HUISA, we work in building up relationship between Hokkaido University and other Universities in Japan. In this process, we have found that networking and support is one of the most important aspects that any associations must address. Over the past few years, we have been meeting different student associations from different universities in Japan and outside. Sharing knowledge and information on needs, challenges, experiences and goals of association is the key benefit of networking which allows us to gain new insights that we might have otherwise thought of. We discuss about common challenges we face as the international students in Japan and opportunities which opens the door to suggestions and proper guidance. These exchange meetings help us in developing and nurturing professional relationships and friendships with other associations.
On August 2018, HUISA met two biggest students association of Japanese universities. We had an amazing exchange information session with Osaka University International Students’ Association, shortly named OUISA. OUISA is all about sharing, learning and networking among the students of Osaka University and focuses on strengthening the friendship, understanding and sharing of experiences among the students from different ethnic communities coming from different parts of the world. We talked about the organization structures, flow of work division and the way of organizing programs, event promotion and management. We met a very friendly President Lakmin Wickremasinghe, who hails from Sri Lanka. He shared us about the international life in Osaka University and ways of dividing work among different groups inside university to conduct any events. We also met Secretary Clara Lim from Canada and Design Team Leader Nozomi Masugata from Japan. We learnt a lot about their organogram as they have IT team, technical team, and design team to organize programs. We talked about the future possibilities of having exchange student programs, joint culture programs. We shared about how HUISA works and activities we conduct yearly. It was very interesting meeting with OUISA team and we hope to see them again.
KUFSA is usually known as one of the strongest international student association within Japan. That is the reason why we, HUISA, decided the visit the association twice. The first time was in 2012 and second time was in 2018. After 6 years, we were eager to find out the different developments in both organizations. In a very hot day of August, five executive members from HUISA met with five executive members for KUFSA and together we held a meeting on sharing experiences and learning from each other for more than three hours. We, HUISA are deeply impressed by the idea of publishing a monthly magazine for foreign students which is done very well by KUFSA. By doing that, foreign students will be kept updated with latest news, happening events, beautiful sightseeing spots not only within campus but also outside campus. Besides, experience from alumni regarding finding job in Japan, find scholarships and part-time jobs can also be shared through the monthly magazines system. What impressed us the most was KUFSA huge members of executive committee members. If HUISA has only 11 management board members, KUFSA at the time of our visit has more than 30 active organizing members. From the meeting with KUFSA, we decided to work more on spreading and promoting popularity of the organization to have more active members to volunteer for the shake of international students in Hokkaido University.
On September 2018, HUISA got a beautiful opportunity to meet students from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). They had come from Malaysia to see Hokkaido University and meet HUISA. IIUM is one of the largest and strongest universities in Malaysia with several campuses spread across several states of Malaysia. IIUMSA is the students’ association of IIUM which was established to help and support students. We got to know about their working patterns which were quite different than HUISA’s. The association had a strong connection with the Office of International Affairs for their activities. They helped in providing financial assistance to needy students, provide on off campus accommodations, support and advices on their learning journey. The President of IIUMSA, Tuan Faiz Ashraf, shared us his opinion about the importance of student association among university students in Malaysia. He also pointed out the problems that were faced while organizing activities and role of executive members in solving them. On the first day, HUISA executive members had ice breaking session with the IIUMSA members. On the second day, we had a collaborative activity with Graduate School of Engineering. We presented about HUISA, how it works, and how it plans to work in future. We got chance to see videos made especially for HUISA. Not only that we also got opportunity to hear from IIUM lecturers about working system of student alumni in IIUM. The program was followed by Token of love distribution and campus tour. Our executive members guided IIUMSA to Hokudai’s popular spots. We are really glad to meet students and teachers from IIUM and hope to connect with them in upcoming future.