From November 13 to 21, six undergraduate students took part in the 4th Global Applied Economics Forum (GAEF) at Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. GAEF is an advanced program for 3rd and 4th year students with experience of outbound study abroad, and/or one of the Dialogue programs in College of Economics. It is a project-based activity and students can propose a topic for the project and arrange the visit by themselves. Since the inaugural project in 2013, GAEF students have visited Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand; RMIT University in Melbourne and Texas Southern University in Houston. In 2017, GAEF visited Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) in Sweden to have a seminar with SSE students.
The seminar was held at the main SSE building on the morning of November 15. The GAEF students made a presentation entitled “Gender Equality and Women’s Participation in the Labor Market in Japan”. In addition to four SSE undergraduate students, some members from the European Institute of Japanese Studies (EIJS). including the director Professor Marie Söderberg, joined the seminar.
The presentation got started with an introduction of the current situation in Japan through various basic data and then the GAEF students focused on the analysis of factors that prevent female labor participation. After the presentation, they had an active discussion with the SSE students, in which they dealt with topics such as the difference of views on gender equality among different generations, political values and discussions behind the policy making and work-life balance in Sweden.
GAEF also includes visits to companies and organizations, as well as cultural and academic activities. During the stay in Stockholm, the students visited JETRO Sweden, Mitsubishi Corporation Stockholm and Mitsubishi Electric, where they could learn how Swedish society promoted gender equality and how Swedish employees work differently from the Japanese even in Japanese companies. The students also visited a Swedish language course for immigrants and a municipal preschool. With the two visits, the students gained an important insight, namely that not only gender equality but also equality for all people in the society regardless of race, gender, age, etc. is regarded as important for democratic society.
In addition to those visits, the students also received a lecture by Ms. Masami Omae, a medical doctor at the Karolinska University Hospital. She described the differences in the health care systems as well as philosophical and cultural differences of views on human life between Sweden and Japan.
Through the active and intensive events with seminar, lecture and company/organization visits, GAEF members had good opportunities to improve their English skills for presentation and discussion. In addition, the academic and cultural experiences in Stockholm will be a good motivation for further learning to be creative, competent and innovative leaders in multicultural and multilingual environments.
You can read the GAEF 2017 Fieldwork Report "here".