JACAC 2015: Day 1 Recap

So I’m in Quebec, but why?

A few months back in October, I was trolling UBC’s website for exchange/ school-travel opportunities and stumbled upon the Japan Canada Academic Consortium  (JACAC). I had never previously heard anything about the forum, so I took a look.. and needless to say a free trip, flight, accommodations, a new city, new people and ideas were all it took to convince me to pay $10 to submit my official UBC transcript and apply despite not knowing much about Japan.
I still don’t know much about Japan, but I do know more than when I arrived less than 48 hours ago.

JACAC strives to create an exchange of information and ideas between representatives from certain Japanese and Canadian universities. I was lucky enough to be flying the UBC flag as the only BC university participating in the conference. Hosted between Meiji University and the University of Alberta’s Prince Takamado Japan Centre, the conference alternates being hosted in an institution in Canada or Japan. This year, the University of Laval is hosting the conference’s 6th year, with the topic being: Youth, Work, and a ‘New World’ in the Making. At the end of the week, each of the 7 groups will present their take on the topic, particularly on the relationship between individuals and institutions in relation to society. Seems pretty dense/ broad/ general (tell me about it!) Today as a group we began trying to unpack our own perceptions of what the topic meant to us, mainly by considering our personal reasons for why this topic resonates enough to make us want to apply for the conference to begin with.

Our first lecture considered the variation and diversity that comes from teamwork to achieve creativity and innovation in problem solving … so team building 101! We then considered some reasons why for the importance of exchange between Japan and Canada via students who study or work abroad and research. We had some brief discussion about adapting to new countries when on exchange and experiencing culture shock, and the difficulties of re-integration of oneself back into their home country after they’ve been away for so long. After lunch, we watched a film on globalization, which unfortunately focused primarily on the achievements of the Global North with little attention paid to the Global South.

Walking back from the library to the residence to do some group work, someone had adamantly suggested walking outside, which although quicker than the underground tunnels meant that it was cold and snowing. Guess who fell knee-deep into the snow… never again!!

Just arrived back home from dinner in Downtown Quebec. It was freezing, the drop to -17 was drastic and so instead of exploring the area we headed to a microbrewery for some satisfactory spicy hot dogs. (The bar at least was playing some cool 90s/ milleniums hip hop that I could appreciate!_ Took some quick pictures of the Parliament area, spotted a McDonalds, ran for the bus, and will be back on Saturday when it’s warmer and brighter to explore!

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