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The internationalization of engineering education: a tale of two countries

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3 Author(s)
Hipel, K.W. ; Dept. of Syst. Design Eng., Univ. of Waterloo, Ont., Canada ; Okada, N. ; Fukuyama, K.

Two international exchange programs in engineering between universities in Japan and Canada, are described in order to explain the significant benefits gained by the undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the academic staff who participate, and to highlight key principles generally followed in the design and execution of exchange programs. One notable and successful engineering exchange program is between the University of Waterloo, located in Southern Ontario, Canada, and Tottori University in Japan, while the other is between the University of Waterloo and Kyoto University in Japan. Both of these programs include foreign students taking courses for credit or audit at the host university, and, for the case of graduate students, also receiving guidance in their research. Moreover, upon completion of one academic semester in Japan, all of the undergraduate Waterloo students studying at Tottori University are employed in Japanese industry for three to four months before returning to Canada. Of paramount importance to the education of the participating undergraduate and graduate students is the opportunity to learn, by first-hand experience, the language and culture of a foreign country. In fact, one of the key findings of a survey completed by Canadian and Japanese students who took part in the exchange programs, is that living in a different culture greatly enhanced their own personal development. The addition of this international perspective to a solid education in engineering opens many doors of opportunity for exchange program alumni, who are well prepared to fully participate in the global marketplace of the 21st century, and to assist society in responsibly reaching an equitable and sustainable future.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 1 )