Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE) Continues to Support Emiratis to Study Japanese Language with Courses at a Number of UAE Universities Extended in 2021
(Abu Dhabi, 14th March, 2021) Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, on-going student demand for Japanese language courses in the UAE remains high, with a number of UAE tertiary educational institutions planning to extend their Japanese language courses in 2021.
The Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU), in coordination with the Abu Dhabi office of the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE), a Japanese government-supported organization, will extend the university’s Japanese language curricular courses, where currently 44 Emirati students are enrolled and studying Japanese language.
Increased interest in general for Japanese language among Emirati students has resulted in additional educational institutions also extending their Japanese programs. 27 students completed extracurricular Japanese courses in 2019 at Zayed University (ZU). In 2020, despite the pandemic and the challenges brought about remote learning, the Japanese Clubs, where students learn about Japanese culture and language remain active on both campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Following student demand, the university is in the final stages of concluding an agreement with JICE, whereby the course will be reestablished at the university this spring. Uniquely, the landmark agreement will allow the members from the general public to also enroll in the course, in addition to students from Zayed University.
UAE University also offers its students extracurricular Japanese language courses through a 2-week summer intensive online program that they run at its Continuing Education Center. In 2020 the course attracted 7 students, with UAE University planning to offer the course again this summer.
Mr. Omar Mohammad Al Remeithi, who has completed the Japanese language course at the KU said, “I was first drawn to Japanese culture through the anime series called “Gundam”. When I was little I would build Gundam plastic models with my siblings, which became an exciting hobby that we all enjoyed. The parts came in a package with an assembly guide written in Japanese, and it was my first exposure to the language. I am interested in Japanese language and culture, and intrigued how Japan has become a creative leader in producing anime, manga and video games. I plan to visit Japan with my siblings and friends and wanted to speak the language with Japanese people to have a better understanding of the Japanese culture.”
Ms. Somayyah Althabahi, an aerospace engineering student at KU said, “I plan to undertake a master’s degree at a leading university in Japan, where having Japanese language skills will help me to communicate more with the people. Learning Japanese in the UAE could have been more challenging if it wasn’t for the Japanese language course offered by KU and the instructor, Ms. Yumi Kobayashi, who provided maximum effort and support to create an excellent learning experience, which also motivated me to learn not only the language but also about Japanese culture, lifestyle and the people. I have become more curious about Japan in general as a result.”
Mr. Al Remeithi added: “Kobayashi-sensei delivered the course in an exceptional way which was engaging, interactive and welcoming. Due to the pandemic, the course was taught online, however she managed it very well and it did not hinder our learning experience. She encouraged me to keep learning and I truly enjoyed the whole experience.”
Commenting on the increased interest for Japanese language learning in the UAE, Ms. Yumi Kobayashi, the Japanese language instructor of JICE said, “It has been my pleasure to meet so many aspiring and hardworking students in the UAE. They might have been first interested in Japanese anime or manga when they were young, but through the courses they have become more interested in learning broader cultural aspects, language and Japanese ways of thinking. I have created additional teaching materials and content in order to make the classes more interactive and engaging for an online platform. I aim to impassion the students to learn despite the courses becoming online.”
The JICE Abu Dhabi office coordinates opportunities for students to learn Japanese language at different educational institutions in the UAE, as well as offering support for Emirati students to study in Japan in future.
Says Shigeto Aoki, General Manager of JICE Abu Dhabi, “Since 2015, a total of 671 students have completed the Japanese courses at Khalifa University of Science and Technology. The COVID-19 pandemic raises challenges for both students and instructors, however these challenges have been largely overcome due to the students’ passion to learn Japanese language, and creative teaching methods employed by the instructor.”
For further information about studying Japanese language in the UAE or studying in Japan contact the JICE Abu Dhabi office, visit: www.jice.org/en or call: 02 406 9704