Past Participant Experiences
I am very grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of the 2014 PBL AIU-UCB course. It is an experience I will definitely not forget. The course content really makes you think about modern day notions of nation states and makes you analyze how current global migration trends affect everyone. This was extremely beneficial as it holds very practical implications, regardless of where you live. For example, the themes discussed in this course bring another pertinent lens to the analysis of migration policy in the United States. This course is so much more than interesting and thought-provoking content, however. The opportunity to collaborate with AIU students is wonderful, and enhances the learning experience. You also make great friends in this six week intensive, but fun, course. Furthermore, Japan is a great country and if you truly immerse yourself in your travels, the opportunity that the AIU-UCB PBL course offers is too good to pass up.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a great experience.
Jennifer M. Reynolds
Before enrolling in this course I knew I wanted to go to Japan, and that I wanted to do research that focused on gender and sexuality. As an anthropology major I enjoy understanding new cultures and doing ethnographic fieldwork. I found out about this class through my major advisor and decided this looked like an excellent opportunity to do independent fieldwork, learn about Japanese culture, and do so over the summer at a relatively low cost. After starting the program summer 2014 the class turned out to be more than I had hoped for. We read a lot of material about immigration in Japan and about Filipina women’s roles in rural Japan. The field trips we went on in the class were engaging especially once we arrived in Japan. My favorite field trip was when we actually got to meet our informants, the Filipina marriage migrants, in Akita. This was a unique experience to get to talk and interview these women about what life was like for them now that they had settled down in Japan, and what their careers were like. Akita International University (AIU) was a nice place to stay and the student body was very welcoming to me and my classmates, the presentation we did at AIU was very successful and well received. Overall, this class was wonderful because I was able to start an original research project, make new friends in Japan and from UC Berkeley, and begin to understand the issues immigrant women face when living in Japan. I am glad to hear they are offering this course again because it was such an amazing experience for myself and I hope this program continues on for many years to come.