Summer lectures and field work in Nagano

July 26-28, August 2-4, 2013

    SERMSS students joined summer seminar and fieldwork in Nagano.

Student’s Report:Juan Diego Fonseca Ashton (D2)

    The summer intensive lectures in Nagano took place between the 2nd and 4th of August at Prof. John Plagen’s country house in Kobuchizawa. During 3 days, we had the opportunity to come closer together with the other participants of the SERMSS programs and the instructors through lectures and social activities.
    The academic activities included the student presentations and a lecture by a professional in water quality control and monitoring. Student presentations allowed students to present a summary of a text regarding their research subjects and discuss it with the rest of the students and instructors. It was not only interesting to learn about the other presenters’ research, but it was also very helpful to receive advice on how to make interesting and effective presentations. The most important point I learned about making presentations is the notion that every time I am given precious time by the audience, it is my duty to make their time listening to my presentation worth it. This means transmitting relevant information in such a way that it is organized and structured in a way that will be interesting enough for them to remember. The student presentations were very useful and I have certainly improved my presentations since them.
    Another important academic activity was the lecture by Mr. Ito from the Koeki Company, who shared with us his knowledge about monitoring and evaluation of water quality. We were able to learn about the methods and equipment used, as well as discuss some points regarding his working experience. We were happy to know that the faucet water at Prof. John’s house originated in a deep-well and was of outstanding purity.
    Besides the academic program, we also participated in various other activities such as a BBQ dinner and a hike across the forest. These activities were very enjoyable and I am glad I could become a closer friend with other Environmental Leader students and get to know the instructors in a more personal way. I think that building these relationships will enrich our participation in the program and created a great environment for the classes and discussions we will have next semester. Being able to take the classes outside of the classroom and into nature seems very fit for a program based on the environment and was very refreshing.
    I was honored to be allowed to prepare dinner and breakfast for the other participants. I though on making dishes that would be interesting and a little bit strange to them as a way to do international exchange. With this in mind, I prepared a typical Ecuadorian potato and cheese soup with avocado topping for dinner, and Mexican style spicy baked eggs. Our Chinese colleagues had not had avocado before, so they were a little bit shocked. Even the other attendants who have had avocado before were surprised by the avocado being put inside the soup. I was expecting this, and was happy to see that they could dare to eat it and enjoy it. This, I believe, is the best pattern when it comes to international exchange.
    The Summer Intensive Lectures were very satisfactory in both the academic and personal levels. The discussions were extended and interesting, and the food was plenty and delicious. I felt very motivated after attending the seminar and I am looking forwards to participate in the next events from the Environmental Leader Program.