DUBAI: Due to ongoing student demand for Japanese language courses in the UAE, the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, in coordination with the Abu Dhabi office of the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE), a Japanese government-supported organization, will extend the university’s Japanese language curricular courses for a fourth year.
Currently 46 Emirati students are enrolled in the courses, with a general increase in interest and demand for Japanese language skills by Emirati students also resulting in Japanese language courses being launched for the second time at the UAE University’s Continuing Education Center. These courses were held during the summer of 2019, where 17 Emirati students were enrolled. Additionally, Zayed University received 260 applications from students to join its extracurricular beginner’s Japanese language course that has placements limited to 60 students.
Noura Omran Al Nuaimi, a computer engineering student at Khalifa University of Science and Technology said, “I was first drawn into Japanese culture through anime when I was little and watched the programmes in Arabic, but now I watch them in Japanese. Last year I visited Japan for the first time but had little knowledge of the language. I would like to visit again so I decided to take the Japanese language course. I am looking forward to communicating better Japanese people.”
Al Nuaimi continues: “I thank Ms. Tanaka, a wonderful teacher who teaches me not only the language but also the culture and tradition. This made me more interested in Japan, especially kimono and tea ceremony. I’m planning to do my master’s degree in Japan to further my study in computer engineering, and one day, I would like to start my own business. I hope one day my language skills will also help in communication if there is a business opportunity with Japanese companies”
Commenting on the increased interest for Japanese language learning in the UAE, Keiko Tanaka, the Japanese language instructor at Khalifa University of Science and Technology said, “It is my third year teaching at this University, and the progress I see with each semester is amazing. Student participation, the average score of the quizzes, the quality of their homework and the final grades have all been improving over the years.”
“Reading and writing Japanese can be challenging, but many students patiently learn the Japanese letters of hiragana and katakana and master them at the end of the semester. The sense of achievement through the hard work gives them satisfaction and encourages them to continue studying Japanese language,” Tanaka said.
Maitha Adbulhamamid Alblooshi, an Early Childhood Education major at Zayed University, commented, “Learning new languages can be challenging but fun. My entire family is fond of Japanese culture and my sister who is fluent in Japanese has been a big influence on me. When I become a teacher, I hope I can teach children the joy of learning foreign languages.”
Alblooshi continues, “I started learning Japanese by watching anime and listening to my sister speaking the language with a Japanese friend. I decided to enroll in the Japanese language course because I also wanted to learn how to read and write. I have many Japanese friends now and really like interacting with them to find out about their lifestyle and cultural background.”
The JICE Abu Dhabi office has been reaching out to Emirati students and their families with a number of programmes, events and initiatives to encourage more Emiratis to seek out study in Japan.
Says Shigeto Aoki, General Manager of JICE Abu Dhabi, “Since the opening of the JICE Abu Dhabi Office in 2013, the number of Emirati students studying in Japan for both degree and non-degree programmes has increased and currently 108 students are studying in Japan. More than 800 Emirati students have studied since 2013.”
For further information about studying in Japan contact the JICE Abu Dhabi office at: www.jice.org/en