Overseas students visited Hokkaido University with Sakura Science

University News | September 21, 2023

Initiated by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the Sakura Science Exchange Program invites young and bright students (high school and university) to Japanese academic and research institutes. Hokkaido University had the honor of receiving two groups of students and researchers, hosted respectively by the Research Institute for Electronic Science (RIES) and the School of Agriculture.

Dr. Hashim and 5 students in lab coats are in the middle of a discussion in a laboratory.

Dr. Hashim (RIES) demonstrated an experiment on the fabrication of molecules for photo medicine. (Photo: Ayumi Hasegawa)

Dr. Maria is sitting on a desk on top of which a laptop was sitting. Students are standing surrounding the lecturer and was looking towards where Dr. Maria was pointing her finger at.

Students learning about genome sequencing with Dr. Maria (School of Agriculture). (Photo: Aprilia Agatha Gunawan)

From August 21 to 26, 2023, nine students and a researcher from India attended a series of laboratory tours, lectures, and demonstrations at RIES. In the following week, from August 28 to September 2, 2023, a total of 10 students and two researchers—a mixture of Malaysians and Indonesians—attended a similar format of events at the School of Agriculture.

The two Sakura Science visits introduced the cutting-edge research conducted at Hokkaido University, as well as had the participants meet and learn from experienced researchers. Both RIES and the Faculty of Agriculture are research hubs of their respective fields, comprising different and unique laboratories.

Two students of Sakura Science at RIES are observing the enlarged picture of microorganisms from a smartphone, aided by a graduate student at RIES.

A workshop on creating a mini microscope and observing microorganisms. (Photo: Aprilia Agatha Gunawan)

Two students of Sakura Science at the School of Agriculture are using ice packs two cool down a jug of water. One student is kneeling, using a thermometer to measure the water's temperature.

Right: A part of the experiment on determining caloric content in coffee. (Photo: Ayumi Hasegawa)

The RIES group visited 9 laboratories and 2 imaging centers. From organic synthesis to chromatography, the students explored a variety of interdisciplinary scientific research and conducted experiments. Outside the campus area, they spent their time learning at the Yoichi Space Museum. 

The Agriculture group also visited multiple laboratories, gaining novel knowledge on rhizosphere control, genomic analysis, and more. The group went on field trips to farms outside the campus area: Nitori Fruit Orchard in Yoichi Town and Furano Cheese Factory in Furano City.

Participants and the lecturers of Sakura Science at are standing in a single line, posing for the picture. A projected image of Sakura Science Exchange Program's logo can be seen on the background.

Participants and the lecturers on the first day of Sakura Science at RIES. (Photo: Aprilia Agatha Gunawan)

Participants and lecturers for the Sakura Science at the School of Agriculture are standing in front of the School of Agriculture's building's entrance, posing for the picture. The people on the front row are holding a banner of the program.

Participants and lecturers on the first day of Sakura Science at the School of Agriculture. (Photo: Ayumi Hasegawa)

In the final session of both visiting batches, the students gave presentations on the entire experience, their impressions, and what they had gained throughout the entire Sakura Science Exchange Program. Academic exchange is not the only objective of this program: participants also learn Japanese culture and language by experiencing local activities and touring around Sapporo and its neighboring places: Yoichi and Otaru.

Hokkaido University has received Sakura Science participants for several years, including during the Covid-19 pandemic that was held virtually. This year’s program is the revival of the on-campus visits at Hokkaido University. The exchange program aspires to motivate the participating students in determining their future career path.

Written by Aprilia Agatha Gunawan