First Step Program

  • Visiting a rural village in Zambia
    Visiting a rural village in Zambia
  • Student exchange activity at the National Vietnam University
    Student exchange activity at the National Vietnam University
  • Discussion with researchers at Oxford University
    Discussion with researchers at Oxford University

As a part of expanding our currently available outbound programs for domestic students, the Institute for International Collaboration has created the First Step Program. This exciting program is designed to give Hokkaido University students a chance to visit foreign countries while meeting with experts from Japanese organizations, and private companies.


As a “first step,” participants in this program can kick-start their future careers by learning a foreign language and new skills to work in the global arena, or undertaking an internship overseas. The program, which has been running since early 2012, has sent students all over the globe, from countries in South East Asia, to those in Europe. Usually around 2 weeks long, around 25 students are accepted for each cohort. While participating in the program, students have the opportunity to visit a variety of places, for example offices of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the World Bank, factories, universities, and other organizations.


The program has six main objectives designed to broaden the students’ horizons and build on their skill set:


  1. To narrow the gap between imagination and reality for students in obtaining the career they seek.
  2. To improve the students’ communication skills, including giving presentations, and working on their language abilities and logistical capabilities.
  3. To broaden cross-cultural understanding.
  4. To deepen the students’ knowledge of their field of study.
  5. To helpstudents understand the steps that need to be taken to achieve their future careers utilizing a hands-on perspective.
  6. To broaden the students’ horizons of the global arena.

The First Step Program is the first of its kind in Japan. In this program, students can obtain a unique experience by visiting developing organizations, private companies, and universities. The program also includes a presentation component on the topic of studying abroad to give the participant a chance to improve their presentation skills in English and Japanese whilst reflecting on their own exchange activities. There is no other program in a university in Japan that offers such a distinctive program.

Updated on   April 21, 2017

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