Waseda University has over 5,000 international students enrolled from over 100 countries and regions. Additionally, every year over 3,000 students from Waseda participate in exchange programs outside of Japan. The Intercultural Communication Center (ICC) was established in order to utilize such a diverse international environment, and further enrich on-campus cross-cultural exchange. True to its name, the ICC offers a space where all students are able to interact – regardless of nationality and culture. Through such interaction, students develop a new understanding of the world around them, while generating new values and interests.
At the ICC “local student” refers to someone who has,regardless of nationality,recieved their education or has grown up in Japan
Contact with foreign cultures plays an important role in providing opportunities for the creation of new culture. In our Alma Mater, there are the following lyrics:
From east and west, from age to age,
All tides of civilization
In one huge whirlpool ever surge
Round this great island Nation.
This song was written 100 years ago. At a time when it was still unusual to see non-Japanese walking down the street—a time of internationalization in its infancy—our founding Father, Okuma Shigenobu, had already discovered the potential for creating new cultures through contact with foreign ones.
It is now the 21st century, and our campus has changed dramatically. Walking around, you will see students from many different cultural backgrounds, and hear a mix of languages. International students from around the globe who study at Waseda all bring with them their unique culture and perspectives. It is the same with the many local* students studying here, who come from every corner of the country. These changes have thus made Waseda a place where cultures meet—a dynamic campus that has the potential for the creation of new cultures.
By creating an organic environment where international and local students can freely exchange thoughts and ideas, opportunities to learn more about coexistence through mutual understanding are cultivated. The potential for developing leadership skills and other abilities is also made possible. Such opportunities become valuable learning resources for all students.
Alongside those students whose future potential shines brightly, Waseda University is fortunate to have a large network of alumni who are passionate about supporting their juniors, and a surrounding community who are happy to cooperate with the University and its activities. Interaction between these three groups—overcoming such borders as generation, social standing, and nationality—fosters the growth of a land where mutual exchange becomes a natural part of its fabric.
Responding to such emerging needs, the Intercultural Communication Center (ICC) was established in June 2006 in order to promote mutual exchange that crosses the boundaries of background and nationality and create new cultures and ways of thinking.
One of our school’s founding principles is “Developing Good Citizenship.” Nowadays, however, this is interpreted as “The Education of Global Citizens.” We hope that the founding of the ICC will bring about a veritable “whirlpool” from our Alma Mater and spread throughout the campus, encouraging all students as Global Citizens to contribute to the advancement of all mankind.
*”Local” refers to someone who, regardless of nationality, has grown up and received their education in Japan.
The ICC encompasses two main concepts, as follows.
（1）Providing various opportunities for student-based mutual exchange
The ICC strives to provide an environment for exchange that provides equal benefits for all parties involved. All participants in the ICC’s programs and activities are regarded as equal, regardless of background.
- a. Interaction between international and local students
The ICC facilitates many kinds of exchange opportunities: Language and cultural exchange, discussion of domestic and international issues, music and dance, sporting tournaments, field trips, etc.
- b. Interaction between students and faculty and staff
The ICC supports exchange between students and faculty and staff members. Opportunities for discussing topics such as language and culture, as well as a whole range of international issues, are provided, where participants can freely share their thoughts and interact with each other, regardless of their academic background or status. This includes the many international researchers residing at Waseda.
- c. Interaction between students and alumni
The ICC aims to provide opportunities for learning and networking for past and present students. With 57,000 current students and 620,000 alumni, countless possibilities are created from exchange and cooperation between past and present generations of Waseda students.
- d. Interaction between students and the local community
The ICC recognizes the potential of meaningful exchange with the surrounding local community, and aims to provide opportunities for interaction where both parties can learn from each other.
（2）Providing up-to-date information to assist with cross-cultural understanding among students
The ICC aims to promote mutual cross-cultural understanding though supplying and receiving relevant information about Japan and the world at large, in a variety of forms.
- a. Information Corner
Information boxes containing tourist brochures covering all 47 prefectures in Japan, as well as all international students’ home countries, together with other information received directly from students themselves about their home countries, are available and immediately accessible. A wide selection of guidebooks, novels, and comics have also been prepared for the reading pleasure of visitors.
- b. Information Board
Not only ICC-organized events and activities, but also various types of information regarding cross-cultural exchange opportunities and extracurricular activities facilitated by a variety of organizations is offered in regularly updated form.
- c. ICC Lounge
The ICC Lounge is a living, breathing space on campus where information from around the world is shared and exchanged. Whether it be providing the latest information via the information board, or discussing new event proposals with students, the ICC actively seeks to respond to the needs of all its users.