On Thursday, September 20, the Student Life section at SFC hosted the annual "Get-together for International Students” event on campus at Tablier. Despite primarily being a welcome party for newly enrolled students, the event brought together newly enrolled international students, current students, recent graduates, supporting groups of Keio alumni, and faculty members, along with several administrative staff members from SFC from the Office of International Affairs and the Student Life section.

Networking while enjoying the party

Chatters filled the air in Tablier before the event officially started. Office staff opened the event at 18:30 by introducing some of the professors and alumni members in attendance. Visiting lecturer David O’Donnell, one of the Project English teachers, opened the event with a few welcoming words. He encouraged new students to come and visit his office on Mondays from 14:00 to 15:30 at λ203 or λ307 if they have any worries or concerns during their time at SFC.

Opening remarks by visiting lecturer David O'Donnell Opening remarks by visiting lecturer David O’Donnell

Shortly thereafter, the administrative staff opened the dinner and allowed guests to start eating. The simple menu included salad, bread, fish, chicken, and seafood pilaf. The staff took into consideration the various diets of international students and provided various types of food for everyone.

Students and staff alike were able to chat during the event Students and staff alike were able to chat during the event

The lines between graduate and undergraduate students were blurred, and students of different nationalities mingled and formed casual groups. People were able to connect with others with shared nationalities and cultures, yet were also able to meet and recognize ones unfamiliar to them.

Most students from the same country found peers from the same countries Most students from the same country found peers from the same countries

Introduction to Keio supporting groups and faculty members

In the midst of the party, Keio supporting groups invited new students to join their group, Keio Welcome Net. Keio Welcome Net consists of Keio alumni who volunteer their time and hold events to enrich international students’ cultural experiences in Japan. You could see their events on their website.

Members from other support groups such as alumni association in Fujisawa "Fujisawa Mita-kai" and “Fujin Mita-kai” also attended the welcome party. Several faculty teachers also take part in the welcome party, allowing the new students to be exposed to their current classes or seminars.

Members of Keio Welcome Net introduced the events they host every year and registered new students for their monthly newsletter Members of Keio Welcome Net introduced the events they host every year and registered new students for their monthly newsletter

Closing Remarks

Prof. Van Meter’s Closing Remarks Prof. Van Meter’s Closing Remarks

Prof. Rodney Van Meter, an associate professor in the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies and the Graduate School of Media and Governance, closed the event with a few concluding remarks. He assured students that several support avenues exist within campus if any of them encounter any difficulties during their student life.

This year, according to the "Application Guidebook for Admissions for Overseas Students (GIGA Program)", the number of applicants are as shown in the following table.

First Header Second Header Number of Applicants Number of Successful Applicants
2011 Environment and Information Studies 24 15
2012 Environment and Information Studies 21 15
2013 Environment and Information Studies 55 41
2014 Environment and Information Studies 98 50
2015 Policy Management 59 35
2015 Environment and Information Studies 77 44
2016 Policy Management 70 41
2016 Environment and Information Studies 69 36
2017 Policy Management 80 46
2017 Environment and Information Studies 79 52

With the growing population of GIGA students, I hope the global community can develop stronger bonds. I encourage new students this year to be involved in as many events as possible in order to broaden their horizons and explore available opportunities. In particular, this event gave new students exposure to Keio supporting groups and a few professors as a jump-start in their endeavors both in Japan and on campus.

Administrative staff of SFC, a graduating student, and an enrolled student Administrative staff of SFC, a graduating student, and an enrolled student

Last but not least, I would like to remind students to meet as many of their peers as possible and make friends. Keeping those connections active through communication is important. Finding people that share common interests will go a long way in creating life experiences for students. I hope that everyone, whether new student, staff, or faculty, enjoyed the event as much as I did, and I wish all new students a great experience at SFC from now on!

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