文部科学省 大学の世界展開力強化事業 ~海外との戦略的高等教育連携支援~

Re-Inventing Japan Project –Support for Strategic Higher Education Cooperation with Overseas–


From the Vice President Miki Sugimura

Professor Miki Sugimura

Vice President for Academic Exchange

Sophia University

Welcome to the Sophia AIMS Program!

Sophia AIMS (SAIMS) is a short-term exchange opportunity for undergraduate students provided by Sophia University as part of the ASEAN International Mobility for Students (AIMS) Programme. It has been adopted by the Japanese government as one of several projects meant to strengthen global development. In the SAIMS Program, or the ‘Trans-Disciplinary Human Development Education Program Aiming for Harmonized Diversity’, we surpass the established framework of humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Focused on a problem-identifying approach, both students from Southeast Asia and Sophia University work together to study and discuss global issues that the international community holds in common. Seven universities from ASEAN are participating, and include: Bogor Agricultural and Gadjah Mada Universities in Indonesia, Chulalongkorn and Mahidol Universities in Thailand, Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle Universities in the Philippines, and The National University of Malaysia in Malaysia.

In ASEAN today, emphasis has been placed on the importance of ‘People to People Connectivity,’ with the goal of regional integration by 2015. Central to this cause is the notion of harmonization, in which people living in the same era join together to form a unified regional society. It can be said that this mindset is of utmost importance when conducting exchanges abroad—not only for ASEAN, but also for the rest of Asia, including Japan. By having students from ASEAN and Sophia learn together, they can understand the differences in each other’s culture, society, and way of thinking—how issues are perceived within the social context of each person, and what kinds of solutions each person is able to conceive. Moreover, if they cross national borders to perform activities in cooperation, they can understand how to address these issues. The SAIMS Program run by Sophia University is a future-oriented program that attempts to do so. Based on Sophia University’s mission of ‘Sophia – Bringing the World Together,’ we look forward to bringing together the future leaders of Asia through this network of international higher education and working to create this new platform of knowledge.

From Professor Yasushi Hirosato

Professor Yasushi Hirosato

Faculty of Global Studies

Sophia University

Hello everyone!Please take a moment to imagine what Japan and ASEAN countries would be like in 2030 and then in 2050? Japan would be faced with further decreasing birthrate and aging population, whereas ASEAN countries, after the economic unification in 2015, would be continuing in growth accelerated by the vigorous consumption of the new middle class, despite the evident gap among the member nations. I believe that eventually the labor markets of Japan and ASEAN countries will be merged, and all the businesses will naturally focus to compete on the integrated ASEAN market with an expected well over six hundred thousand people.

What exactly does this mean to you, now? Consider ASEAN countries not only as your business domain but as your living domain. ASEAN countries are now changing dynamically. In the SAIMS program, provided by Sophia University, you will be able to study for one semester at a major partner university in ASEAN countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. One semester is far from being sufficient, but to actually feel this growth of ASEAN countries will help you take a huge leap forward as a student and a citizen. On the other hand, the SAIMS program at Sophia University offers the students of Sophia and ASEAN countries a chance to learn together in Japan through field work and active learning. I hope that students from ASEAN countries will learn more about Japan and its people by mixing with the students of your age, and by watching how an average Japanese lives. Please tell your family and friends back home all about Japan.

For about a quarter of a century, I have had close ties with ASEAN countries through business and living. Vividly imprinted in my memory are the sights not only in the capital cities, but in local cities and rural areas where I visited in fieldwork. My experience of the days I spent in the rich natural environment and the impression it gave me in South East Asia made my life rewarding. I was in my thirties then. Younger people like you will be able to feel deeper with the people of ASEAN countries, and will find it easier to learn the language. Do take part in SAIMS program, and experience an opportunity that can change your views of the world and values.

From Associate Professor Mikiko Sugiura

Associate Professor Mikiko Sugiura

Center for Global Discovery

The world is changing dramatically. We are witnessing a huge power-shift.
In the political, military, economic power, and probably in culture, too, the current axis is diversifying and moving. It may simply be a power-shift, but it could be a spreading of power. No one can tell. In any case, what is happening out there definitely is a “something” of a big change.

What is great about SAIMS program, I think, is that it enables you to see, hear, and touch, and feel with all your five senses this big change.

Asia is moving; and tremendously fast. As a member of Asia, we cannot escape from this change. Products and people are moving, as we all know, but environment contaminating substances are also easily crossing the border. We are now inside a movement faster than ever. You can use your precious time as a student to take full advantage of resources offered by Sophia University and its partner universities, to learn, think, and most importantly “feel” this movement (being a unique opportunity). For all of you living in the ages to come, this could be the most privileged chance. It is because the experience of “feeling the movement” can only be gained by placing yourself actually inside it.

Internationalization and diversification: it is easy to put them into words. But it is the experiences that add significance to the words. It is your decision to put yourself in the movement of Asia. The faculty and the staff will do everything possible to help you. We are proud to help.

From Professor Makiko Deguchi

Professor Makiko Deguchi

Vice Director

Center for Global Discovery

Step out of your comfort zone and take a step towards the unknown

If you have landed on this website, you are most likely interested in studying abroad in one capacity or another—whether it’s taking part in a short-term intensive program in a foreign country during your spring or summer break, or going abroad for one semester or an entire year. Perhaps you are a student living outside of Japan who is seriously considering Sophia University as your destination for your semester abroad. As the Director of the Center for Global Discovery, I am excited to inform you that you have come to the right place. Sophia University is one of the premier global campuses in Japan, and offers its students diverse opportunities for intellectual and cultural enrichment both domestic and international.

Sophia University is currently affiliated with over 190 universities in over 40 countries around the world and each year we send more than 500 students abroad, and receive 900 international students from over 60 countries. The Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Program in Global Studies offer premier B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in English, while our Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies is opening its doors to students from abroad. Recently we have expanded our affiliations with universities in ASEAN countries and look forward to sending and welcoming students from Southeast Asian countries.

From the very beginning of our 100-year existence, we have been a global campus open to foreign students and offering courses in foreign languages and cultures. Founded by Jesuits with the motto “Men and Women for Others, with Others,” we are proud to stand by this mission today as a pathway for becoming a true global human resource. So my advice to you is this: Take risks. There are things you can only do when you are young. Step out of your comfort zone and take a step towards the unknown. I will assure you that you will be able to come to a deeper understanding of who you are, your place in the world, and see things from a completely different perspective. The world is becoming increasingly global and we need today’s young people to become our future leaders who can lead through courage, intelligence, and compassion. We hope you continue our tradition at Sophia and take up the challenge to study abroad. It’s time to go global!

From Professor Takefumi Terada

Professor Takefumi Terada

Faculty of Global Studies

Seize the opportunity and study abroad!

As a student, there are many merits of studying at a foreign university. In addition to the value of completing your coursework abroad, you can live in a different environment and have the opportunity to learn the language of the region, if it is not English. You can also meet new friends and place yourself inside a different value system and culture.

In the latter half of my twenties, when I was a graduate student, I had the opportunity to study and conduct fieldwork at the University of the Philippines for three and a half years. The circumstances of an undergraduate exchange program are slightly different, but the time I spent at that graduate school attending seminars with students from the Philippines and other countries, living in the international student dormitory, and completing my one-year fieldwork in the countryside all helped me to understand the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

SAIMS program is not only limited to the Faculty of Global Studies or the Faculty of Foreign Studies, so I urge you rise to the challenge. The lifestyle differences from Japanese society may be bewildering, but that itself is a form of cross-cultural training.

I believe that there is great merit in having Southeast Asian students study here at Sophia University. In the center of a metropolis such as Tokyo, Japanese students and exchange students from other countries can come together to learn, have discussions, share their experiences, and go out to fieldwork.

No matter who you are, studying abroad is a great asset. If a large international problem were to arise, you may be able to extend your imagination to think, “What would the people of my host country, or the classmates with whom I learned think to do?” You will have access to a multifaceted thought process, without completely relying on your native society, culture, and values. I believe that a global perspective is built upon the accumulation of such thoughts. Studying abroad is the first step towards that.