About Us Activity Publications Inquiries & Access


JICA Field Study Program for University Students: Participants’ Reports


The JICA Field Study Program for University Students (FSP) aims to support the development of the human resources who will be active globally in the future by allowing young students to obtain a global perspective and learn how to identify problems and find solutions by participating in study programs in developing countries. This year, two students from this university were selected and after orientation training in Japan visited international cooperation projects in Indonesia and Cambodia. Here the two students report on their experiences.

A discussion event with
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers


I spent 18 days in Indonesia from February 15 to March 4, 2015 as part of JICA’s Field Study Program.
The overall topic for the program was “Thinking about Sustainable Social Development: A Look at Japan’s International Cooperation Program.” The first half of the program was designed to give participants a first-hand understanding of cooperation by visiting Japanese companies and international cooperation projects. The second half was made up of a fieldwork research in one of the project villages. The places we visited were Jakarta, Bali, and South Tangerang.

In Jakarta, the capital, we visited the JICA Indonesia Office and several Japanese companies, and had an opportunity to learn about international cooperation and the diverse actors engaged in it. In Bali, a major tourist destination, we visited a refuse collection center and a mangrove center with students from the Udayana University, discussing the clashes that can arise between tourism and the environment, and deepening our understanding of what local people are looking for from development. In South Tangerang we had an opportunity to observe a grassroots partnership on environmental education run by the Indonesia Education Promoting Foundation, and carried out fieldwork research.

On the field study in South Tangerang

The thing that struck me most on this trip was Indonesia’s diversity and the state of its economic development. Indonesia is made up of more than 18,000 islands, and is home to more than 300 different ethnic groups and languages. Through the program we were able to experience something of the religious and linguistic diversity that exists in the country. In Jakarta, alongside all the skyscrapers, we also saw people scraping a living by collecting trash. I got the impression that the gap is increasing between those who have benefited from economic development and those who have not and that much of the wealth was concentrated in relatively few hands.

I was able to meet many people thanks to this program. In particular meeting the other 19 students on the program, all from different universities and studying different subjects, and spending 18 days together, was an irreplaceable experience. I was inspired by their appetite for learning and their proactive approach to asking questions. Our interviews with local people were carried out with the help of students from the Islamic University of Indonesia who acted as interpreters. I was impressed by their kindness and helpfulness.

I hope to put this experience to good use in my studies and somehow pay it back by working in global society in the future.

(Fumie Ishikawa, 2nd year student,
Division of Human Life Studies, Faculty of Human Life and Environmental Sciences)

Carrying out interviews with villagers


I spent 18 days in Cambodia from February 18 to March 7, 2015. We visited the JICA office and NGOs in the field and learned about the work they do, then carried out interviews with people in a village where the NPO Institute of Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation runs a project and shared the results with the people of the village. These activities enabled us to deepen our understanding of international cooperation by seeing and hearing things for ourselves in the field.

Many NGOs are running aid projects in Cambodia, where the impact of the long civil war and the years of rule by the Pol Pot regime can still be felt. The legal system is still underdeveloped and the government barely functions in some areas, with the result that Cambodia is an underdeveloped country that still faces many problems. Our objective as a group was to answer the question: What kind of activities are useful for the local people? We carried out our research survey with a view to answering this question.

First, from what we learned on our visits to NGOs and Japanese companies, I got the feeling that aid projects are still over-dependent on outsiders and lack continuity and sustainability. Another thing that struck me from the interviews we carried out in the village was that although the villagers were poor they lived very spiritually rich lives. I realized that poverty does not necessarily mean that people are living pitiable lives full of nothing but problems. I also felt that because people had not received much education, they tended to underestimate their own abilities and lacked confidence. I think that getting local people more directly involved in projects and incorporating their opinions and ideas should help to create more confidence and make the projects adhere more closely to local people’s lifestyles and values.

Houses in a farming village

The biggest thing I learned by participating in this program was the importance of listening to local people. This is something that should be self-evident in studying international cooperation, and I thought I understood it even before I traveled to Cambodia. But of course you get quite a different impression from directly seeing or hearing something than from learning about it in class or reading about it in a thesis. We can learn in Japan that developing countries are poor and that they face many problems. But when you actually see them and come into direct contact with them, you realize for the first time that the people living in these countries are not living miserable lives but have hopefully figured out ingenious ways of coping. You also learn that government policies have slowly but surely taken root and that all these people receiving aid have abilities and potential but just happen not to have received sufficient education. Therefore we should not make judgments based on superficial impressions, and we cannot provide continuous and precise assistance unless we listen closely to local people and get a clear grasp of what their real problems are.

Of course the people we met in the farming village and in the village where we carried out our interviews are only a small part of the population, but even so I was able to get a sense of what is important for international cooperation that cannot be grasped simply by studying in Japan. I want to work hard to ensure that I can put this experience to good use in the rest of my time at university and my work in the future.

(Marin Iwashiro, 2nd year student,
Global Studies for Intercultural Cooperation, Faculty of Letters and Education)

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加