ELI organizes first KUIS presentation contest

5 01 2012

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The ELI hosted its first presentation contest at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan last month on December 17, 2011. Students at the university competed for two top prizes of ¥ 300,000, applicable to a study or volunteer abroad program of their choice.

The competition asked students what aspects of Japanese culture they were proud of and how they could best represent Japan abroad. Over 30 first and second year students created presentations on this theme.

In the morning, students competed in individual and group categories, and were scored by ELI teachers. The top four scores in each category battled each other in a final afternoon round.

The afternoon round included presentations on Japanese festivals, culture, food, and personal experiences abroad. A panel of three judges scored each and asked follow-up questions specific to their talks. Adam Chapin, one of the judges, commented, “I was impressed with the students’ English abilities, presentation skills, and enthusiasm. Every student who participated is a winner in my eyes and I encourage them all to keep up the good work.”

Yohei Koyama’s presentation on the influence of Japanese education won top marks in the individual category. “I plan on using the prize money on volunteering abroad as a part of the Habitat for Humanity organization and will be going to Nepal to build a house this March,” said the winner. Group category winners Eriko Adachi, Haruka Matsuzaki, and Kaori Tsubaki shared personal stories to discuss what it meant to be Japanese for them, and how these positive aspects of their culture can be shared abroad. They plan on using their winnings to travel in Asia.

Executives from the Daily Yomiuri newspaper, Kanda board members, ELI lecturers and many student supporters attended the afternoon session located in the Crystal Hall of the Multilingual communication center (MULC).  Jaclyn Pitts, ELI lecturer and main organizer of the event, said, “Everyone was impressed with the presentations and it was nice to see all of the students so excited. Even though it was only our first time doing the contest, we had many students participate and the quality of their presentations was great.”

In addition to the top prize, second place students won tickets to Disneyland, while third place winners earned iTunes gift cards. ELI Director Dr. Michael Torpey explained, “Chairman Sano was interested in enhancing Kanda’s reputation as a university known for producing students who can use the language confidently. The presentation contest emerged as one way to showcase this aspect not only to the KUIS community but additionally to the outside public – such as the Daily Yomiuri visitors.”


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