Yasuaki Inada (UT Faculty of Law, junior)
I took a course called “Sustainability and Institutions” offered by Yale University. It has been a prolific course in many aspects, including both in-class discussion and interactions outside class. According to the concept of IARU GSP, students had various cultural and academic backgrounds and the friendship we formed throughout the course is the largest gain of this program.
The course was mainly taught by Yale Professor Julie Newman, and covered various fields related to the sustainability issue including organizational change, systems thinking and business. Ms. Newman was an enthusiastic teacher and stimulated our learning experience with her extensive knowledge and unique experience of transforming Yale Campus into a sustainable system. She frequently gave us opportunities to discuss and present our analysis about specific issues within a short time. This style of interactive, problem-solving oriented learning had been entirely new to me, since classes at my home university are mainly taught unilaterally in a large classroom. This experience helped me to develop the ability to give concise response based on quick analyses. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of the sustainability issue and the intensive discussion in class catalyzed communication across different societal and academic fields, and lead to a new level of understanding of each culture or society.
We were assigned several projects to complete papers and presentations on certain sustainability topics. We worked in groups of 2 or 3, and most of our work took place outside the classroom such as library research and interview with university staff. Through these projects I both learned the difficulty of working with people who have different backgrounds, and the excitement of converging our interests into one thesis. I am sure that this experience of cooperation would guide me throughout my academic and professional carrier.
Beside class, I have countless memories of conversing and having fun with my classmates and other students from Yale Summer Session. Yale counselors planned events and trips every day and I was never bored during the program. A trip to a game center was especially memorable. Students also planned trips themselves, and I went to Boston with other Japanese students at Yale. However, daily conversation in the college dining hall is my most precious memory since I could make friends with many great people from around the world. These interactions expanded my perspective on life and carrier beyond the limited boundary of Japanese society and culture as much as the in-class experience did.
I am profoundly thankful to Friends of UTokyo for enabling me to have such a fruitful time at Yale University. Had it not been for your help, I would have missed one of the best experiences in my college years.