On August 4th this year, a cohort of 24 first-year Economics students, chosen from over 50 applicants, arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, ready to take up the Applied Economics Intensive challenge. Applied Economics Intensive is an 80-hour English intensive that takes place over four weeks every August. Now in its sixth year, a key aim of the program is to introduce students to Study Abroad, providing them with the English-language, academic and cross -cultural skills required for longer-term overseas study. The course takes place within a CLIL (Content-and Language Integrated Learning) and ESP (English for Specific Purposes) framework, with a focus on topics and vocabulary related to Economics.
The course, a collaborative effort between English-teaching staff at YNU and University of Edinburgh, takes place at the Paterson’s Land campus near the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The arrival in Edinburgh was preceded by weekly preparation sessions on Tuesdays at YNU. The academic preparation was handled by Professor Alexander McAulay and Professor Jun Kajima, with vital logistical input from the international affairs staff in Academic Affairs. On arrival on Sunday, August 4th, the students were met at the airport by YNU and University of Edinburgh staff, and taken to their homestay hosts. Having met the locals who would provide their accommodation, meals (as well as emotional and linguistic support) the night before, they arrived at University of Edinburgh on Monday morning ready to start their 80 hours of classroom work. The course includes training in research skills that culminates in a 10-minute presentation in the final week on a topic related to their readings in Economics. This includes such topics as the Scottish oil industry, financial services in Scotland, the Scottish whisky industry, and the economics of tourism in Edinburgh. The students worked on their academic research, writing and presentation skills during the day, and developed their speaking and listening skills with their Scottish hosts while enjoying home-cooked food in the evenings.
Outside of class, the students engaged with all that this city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has to offer. The world’s most famous arts festival, The Edinburgh International Festival & Fringe (EIFF), takes place in Edinburgh every August, when the population of the city swells as artists and performers arrive to put on one of literally thousands of performances that happen each day. Edinburgh is nicknamed ‘Festival City,’ and in fact five festivals take place during August, including EIFF, the International Book Festival, and the Arts Festival. Local students from the University of Edinburgh acted as mentors, and helped YNU students to attend the many plays, musicals, concerts, recitals and street performances that Edinburgh offers daily.
The program also included many social and cultural events. A Highland Tour took place on the first weekend, so students could see the amazing scenery of the Highlands and Isle of Skye. During this tour, they could enjoy singing, dancing and lively conversation with visiting European students. There was also a ceilidh, an evening of traditional Scottish dance, that was as exciting as it was exhausting. One innovation in 2019 was leaving the second Friday free of classes so that students who wished to travel for sightseeing could have a long weekend to do so. This change proved popular and the vast majority of students took advantage to visit London or other popular locations.
Results from the feedback evaluation show that the 2019 cohort greatly enjoyed their time in Edinburgh. Students felt they improved their English-language ability, intercultural communication skills, and gained a stronger perspective on Scotland and Japan’s place in global society. Preparations are already underway for the 2020 Applied Economics Intensive. More details of the program are available on the Department of Economics dedicated Study Abroad website.