PTJC New Gen Japan-Canada Dialogue 5: Sophia Peou – University of Waterloo

Sophia Peou, a JACAC Student Forum participant in 2021, describes the conference’s impact on her life and talks about how student exchange programs like this help young people in their career progression

20 September 2021

Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Alberta, is currently working on promoting and celebrating the accomplishments of our academic programs, such as the Japan-Canada Academic Consortium (JACAC) Student Forum, which in the past 12 years has brought together more than three hundreds of students from Japan and Canada.

Sophia Peou, a 2021 JACAC Student Forum participant from the University of Waterloo, Canada, talks about her experience during the conference. She stresses that international conferences like this provide students with an invaluable opportunity to connect with peers from the other culture, explore future career and develop professional social skills. The 2021 JACAC Student Forum was hosted by the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Alberta. Due to the COVID-19 restriction, it was held online. The forum topic was “Youth During and After the Pandemic: A Proposal for the New Normal.”

“I definitely think that this goes without saying that my experiences with JACAC [Student Forum] had a profound impact on my life. So, firstly, I would actually say that I built valuable skills and experiences in international communication, which will for sure continue once the pandemic ceases to exist. Tasks like setting meetings during different time zones when working through minor cultural or language nuances are all important to be acclimated in an increasingly digitally oriented workspace. And, secondly, I would also argue that JACAC played a major role in helping me land important job placements. Many of my employers, past and present, were actually very impressed by the intercultural communication, data extraction and presentation skills that I learnt from the program.”

 

The Japan-Canada Academic Consortium works to promote and encourage a movement of ideas and knowledge between the two countries. The JACAC Student Forum began more than ten years ago. Over the years, it has explored a wide range of important topics including climate change, aging society, the youth and work, immigration and refugee, and global governance. Each forum consists of expert lectures, fieldwork, group work including research study, group presentations, field trip, etc.