Categories: Languages

A life-changing experience for many – An Intercultural exchange with Japanese students

Intercultural learning opportunities help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.  It provides challenging intercultural learning experiences to young people, enhancing their social and personal development through exchange programmes. It promotes intercultural understanding, equality of opportunity, justice and peace among people in the world. Intercultural programmes foster inclusion and have the potential to change mind-sets and remind people that unity in diversity is the answer to our problems, not division.

On the 14 January 2019, an intercultural exchange with Japanese students involving a speaking competition, was held at MDIS Auditorium organised by Culture Connection Pte Ltd, one of our School of Languages and Education (SLE)’s collaboration partners. The competition is the brainchild of the Principal of Yamagata Higashi High School who believes in providing exposure to their students in the international arena.

In  total, there were nine teams represented at this event – three from MDIS-SLE, five  from Yamagata Higashi High School and one from SIM International. The topics chosen by the group were based on their own interests. 36 students came from Japan.  All the 3 levels of MDIS SLE totalling 120 students as well as 30 immersion students participated in this presentation programme.

MDIS SLE was represented by one Level two (Intermediate) team of  students and two Level three (Advanced) teams. The students were trained by their respective lecturers.  

Each of the teams came up with their chosen topic. Our MDIS-SLE teams presented the following topics:


Each team were given about five to ten minutes to speak and limited to about six-PowerPoint slides. The criteria included enthusiasm, eye contact and degree of engagement with the audience. There was also a question and answer segment included by the panel of judges for team members.

The programme provided our students a new personal experience in developing their new language communication skills, patience, managing stress and conflict, self-esteem and self-confidence. Socially, it was an opportunity for them to meet new friends and develop personal relationships and exposure in volunteering to represent MDIS. In addition, it enabled them to learn about new cultures and to be open to new challenges. The winning trophy was awarded to CIS/EIS Level two Team. It was a very rewarding experience for our multi-national team comprising Zhang Yinnan (Nancy) Wu Yiwei (Olivia) from China, Lin Ying-I (Selina) from Taiwan and Phan Thi Kim Phung (Kago) from Vietnam and for their teacher Ms Lata Narayanan who single-handedly trained them.


Founded in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute for lifelong learning. MDIS has two main subsidiaries: Management Development Institute of Singapore Pte Ltd which oversees its Singapore academic operations, and MDIS International Pte Ltd which focuses on MDIS’ globalisation strategy. MDIS offers internationally-accredited courses in Business and Management, Engineering, Fashion and Design, Health and Nursing, Information Technology, Languages and Education, Life Sciences, Media and Communications, Psychology, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Safety and Environmental Management.

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