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JEPN 11th meeting: Discussion on supports for welcoming students and job hunting , including students from Ukrines and and student support groups

JEPN holds regular meetings of universities participating in the network to share the efforts of each university and provide information on admitting students of refugees and displaced persons.


As it has been about two years since each university admitted students from Ukraine, a face-to-face meeting was held on Monday, March 8, 2024, with the themes of reviewing the past experience of admitting students and providing job hunting support, which will be important in the future.


Meiji University provided the venue for the meeting, and 22 participants from 11 universities attended the face-to-face meeting, and 4 people from 3 universities in the Kansai region participated online, for a total of 26 participants from 14 universities. In addition, 5 Ukrainian students and 4 members of student organizations from the two universities involved in welcoming students also participated, sharing issues they saw from the students' perspective and suggestions for the future.




Session 1: Reflections on welcoming students of displaced persons: Accomplishments and Lessons Learned



In the morning session, participants reflected on the admission of Ukrainian students and discussed lessons learned for the future. First, Sophia Refugee Support Group(SRSG), a student organization at Sophia University that provides support for refugees, introduced the efforts made by the university and SRSG in welcoming the students and raised issues for better support. The SRSG shared that while some measures, such as the orientation program, were effective in helping students set up and run in their new lives, there were still issues to be addressed in building a continuous relationship with them. For the future, the participants suggested that the university should provide information on refugees and humanitarian crises more widely within the university, and posed a question how to expand the program not only to Ukrainian students but also to students with other refugee backgrounds.


Next, three Ukrainian students currently studying at JEPN universities shared their own experiences and offered suggestions for the future. Sharing their experiences of various difficulties they had when they first arrived in Japan, such as communicating in Japanese, opening bank accounts and hospitals, they talked about how the support they received from the university, student organizations, and dormitories was helpful. For the future, they suggested more detailed explanations on how to continue their studies, such as how to get grades at the university, and proposed holding collaborative events with Japanese and international students from other countries. They also shared their desire to build friendships as individuals rather than in the form of a buddy system.


From the universities, staff from Soka University and Nagasaki University spoke about their support for displaced students at their universities, the challenges they have faced, and their outlook for the future. In the group work session that followed, university staff, Ukrainian students, and members of student organizations mixed into one group to share good practices at each university and discuss improvements for future admission. 



(From left to right: presentation by a student from Sophia university, presentation by an Ukrainian student, presentation by Soka University)


Session 2: How to Support Ukrainian Students in Job Hunting


The afternoon session focused on the theme of job hunting support, which will become more important in the future.


First, a representative from the Career Center of Sophia University gave a presentation on the difficulties that international students face in job hunting support in Japan and the efforts being made at Sophia University. He shared that the job hunting schedule and requirements for the selection process differ greatly between Japan and other countries, and that international students tend to lack knowledge of new graduate recruitment in Japan, which emphasizes potential, and the appealing points necessary for the selection process. Therefore, he suggested that it is important for universities to provide information from an early stage and for students to have work experience at Japanese companies, such as internships.


Afterwards, Ukrainian students who are actually engaged in job hunting gave a presentation on their job hunting activities to date, the difficulties they have encountered, and their suggestions on what kind of support would be expected for the future.


Following the presentations by the two students, a group work session was held to discuss current efforts and issues at each university and what should be done in the future. The student group discussed the challenges they face in job hunting, what they will do in the future, and what they expect from their universities, from the viewpoints of the people involved.


(From left to right: presentation of Sophia University Career Center, presentation of Ukrainian students, presentation of group work)



In both sessions, the discussion was deepened by the inclusion of both the university and student perspectives, and the participating universities commented that they were able to gain a new perspective on how students think about the program and to think about future initiatives by learning their honest thoughts.


Pathways Japan, which serves as the secretariat of JEPN, is expanding its job hunting support activities by providing information to students, building networks with companies, and holding events where students can interact with companies interested in hiring. JEPN will continue to support students of refugees and displaced persons in finding and realizing their career goals by sharing opportunities and information for students with their respective universities.



We will continue to hold meetings regularly to develop educational pathways to admit studen

ts of refugee and displaced persons in Japan through education and employment.

If you are interested in joining JEPN, please contact us at the form below.



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