Japanese Automotive Students Visit and Learn from UVU Professionals

Japanese Automotive Students Visit and Learn from UVU Professionals

Recently, 41 students from the Saitama Technical College in Japan came to Utah Valley University (UVU) with their principal, Kazunori Arai, to be trained and taught by UVU’s Transportation Technology professors for the annual Saitama Technical College study abroad week.

The purpose of this study abroad, and what the students learn is to take the learned skills back home and apply their newfound skills to their education and careers, but to share the knowledge they gained with other students and professors. Out of the 10,000-plus students currently studying at the Saitama Technical College, these 41 students and their families paid their own way to come to Utah to participate in this study abroad and learn from UVU’s transportation technology professors. “Students are coming from around the world to get trained here,” stated Zach Taylor, Transportation Technologies department chair.

Their courses and training for the week focus on three main transportation technology topics. First, they are given courses and training in Custom Painting taught by professor Terry Ore. And Professor Matt Harsara then instructs the students in Engine High Performance. Lastly, they learn about Plastic Welding and Panel Fabrication with Professor Taylor. These classes go from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day with 90% of what the students are learning being entirely hands-on. Principle Arai and the two accompanying instructors, also participate in all the coursework with the students working alongside as much as possible.

This study abroad has been happening annually for over 20 years with just a four-year hiatus during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Each year about 40 or so students have had the opportunity to come to Utah and study with UVU professors. Instead of staying in hotels near campus, host families in the surrounding area offer their homes to these incredible students to stay locally with them.

At the conclusion of the weeklong training is a graduation ceremony. During this ceremony, students are given a “Certificate of Excellence” for what they have learned and achieved during their study abroad at UVU. From there, participants return home to Japan and share what they have learned. Linking them and UVU together for the rest of their lives.

Everyone involved in this week enjoys themselves immensely, the students, the principal and instructors from Saitama Technical College, and the professors at UVU who work in the Transportation Technology program. Zach Taylor said this week is “the highlight of my summer.” Taylor wants “students right in our backyard,” to know how special this program is and to understand how much this program can do for students across the globe.

To learn more about Utah Valley University’s Transportation Technology program, visit: https://www.uvu.edu/auto/