Cultural exchange (and ice cream) at Small World Coffee Hour

As international students flood back into Nagoya University following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, activities promoting international exchange and cross-cultural communication are in full swing once again. With around 2,009 international students across its various programs and schools, Nagoya University hosts a diverse pool of talent from around the globe. The Nagoya University Global Engagement Center (GEC) Support Team provides support to our international students, one facet of which is organizing social events to help them make friends and get more involved in university life.



One of the regular events organized by GEC Support Team is Coffee Hour, an informal gathering which is open to international and domestic students. It is a chance for groups of students who may otherwise never have a chance to meet to get to know each other, build their international network and deepen their understanding of each other's cultures.



Coffee Hour is led by a group of student organizers, who plan the meetings around themes. On June 4th, 2024, with temperatures touching thirty degrees celcius in Nagoya, they held their first event of the 2024 academic year - a speed-meeting ice breaker event with ice cream to get in the summer mood.


Speed-meeting is a simple concept. Attendees pair up, and are given a question that they have 5 minutes to discuss and answer together. After the 5 minutes are up, they move on to the next person, and a new question is presented to them to discuss. Questions were on themes such as 'If you could wake up tomorrow morning anywhere in the world, where would it be?' and 'Where is your favourite place on campus?'. There were ten questions in total, with a break for ice cream in the middle!



I spoke to Lyn, from Thailand, who is studying economic development at the Graduate School of International Development. "I joined Coffee Hour because I'm studying Japanese and I thought it would be a good chance to practice," she explained. "It's my first time here, but everyone has been really kind and it's been really interesting! And there was free ice cream!"



Ice cream or no ice cream, Small World Coffee Hour events remain popular among domestic and international students at Nagoya University as an opportunity to make friends and deepen international ties. Cultural enrichment for all Nagoya University students helps give them a wider range of skills, broadening their opportunities and nurturing their potential to make them valuable contributors to global society and academia.