Despite travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Hospitality and Service Management (SHSM) successfully launched a home-based virtual mobility programme with Kansai Gaidai University, Japan. This virtual mobility programme, also known as the Asian Studies Programme, took place from August to December 2021. A total of eight undergraduate degree students from SHSM successfully completed this four-month virtual mobility programme. These students are Cheryl Wong Pui Mun, Chew Yi Ning, Goh Hwee Yu, Kay Caitlynn, Micole Yong Yu Xuan, Khoo Ming Tsu, Tan Jia Earn, and Tan Wei Hang.
The Asian Studies Programme was established in 1972 by Kansai Gaidai University that welcomes over 600 students from 40 countries around the world annually. The purpose of the programme is to provide international students with a means to explore Japanese and Asian studies through languages, culture, tradition, globalisation, business and management. The courses concern the Japanese language; fashion and music in Japan; sociocultural elements in Japan; and Japanese business. Given the COVID-19 travel restrictions, students still had the opportunity to participate in this programme from their respective home countries.
International mobility programmes are an effective avenue for students to enrich their education experience by gaining exposure to other cultures and languages, both of which can enhance one’s employability.
Associate Professor Dr. Daniel Chong, Associate Dean – International, also mentioned “When the world came to a halt for student exchange due to travel restrictions and the fear of a COVID-19 outbreak, a new opportunity for virtual exchange programmes arose. Many people were aware of it, but only a few responded to it. I'm glad we're among those who have taken the initiative.” Dr. Daniel Chong also expressed gratification to the team at International Office for making this a successful event.