[Imai-Seminar] Joint Project with Colorado University Students!

Hi everyone! This is Akari Kanaya from Imai-seminar. I am here to tell you about the project I participated in with students from the University of Colorado, Boulder-Leeds School of Business this February to May. The project was about Japan and the United States’ resilience partnership. Students were divided into groups to work on each topic they chose to create a presentation. The content has progressively evolved in complexity, covering global issues. This project started in 2017 but since Covid-19, it was held completely online for 4 years. This year, fortunately, the CU students were able to come to visit Japan and do final preparations together in person.  From the beginning of February, we had three months of online meetings, and during the last two weeks of the project, we brushed up our presentation and prepared for the competition in person.

This year, there were 5 subtopics under the broad topic of “Japan and the United States resilience partnership”. In each group, we had each 5 students from CU and SWU.  The theme I chose was “well-being in the workplace”. We were required to work together and learn and explore both American and Japanese perspectives of well-being in the workplace. We discovered what kind of laws each country has to protect employees’ well-being and the policies they have to promote it.  It was important for us to see various stakeholders’ points of view. In this case, we researched the employee’s viewpoint and employers’ and government’s points of view. We also looked into histories of how the laws and policies were created in the past to discuss what we can do to create a better work environment to encourage well-being. Since we will be working shortly after we graduate, this topic felt close to us, and we were able to concentrate more on researching what we need to learn to have our well-being balanced. At the final presentation, it was very interesting to see other groups’ presentation since all the theme was very academic. I could tell that all of the groups have been working hard on this project. We could see the different perspectives on researching the theme even though there were 2 groups under 1 same subtopic.

 It was difficult for the first few months of online meetings due to the time difference and disparity of language abilities but by communicating one another’s situation, we found a compromising point to make things work.  Doing a project together with people we haven’t met in person was a new experience for us, but this project proved that we can build a bond whether we’ve met in person or through the screen. It was the most satisfying moment after we nailed our presentation, we were all very proud of ourselves for doing hard work. Not only we learned about the resilience of the US and Japanese partnership from an academic perspective, but also, we were able to experience what it’s like to work with people who have different backgrounds. This will certainly be useful once we finish school and dive into the workplace with diversity. It was amazing to see ourselves growing and learning so much together throughout this project. Hopefully, I will get to visit Colorado one day to see all the friends I made from this experience.