ELyT School 2014 in Sendai
Since 2009, ELyT School is a summer school program held alternatively between France and Japan institutions: Tohoku University (Sendai), INSA Lyon and Ecole Centrale of Lyon (Lyon). It involves about 20 graduate school students (PhD candidate and Master-course student) who stay in the host country for two weeks to discover the foreign culture and the international projects established within the institutions' network. The sixth edition of ELyT School was held in Sendai from August 31st to September 10th 2014. As a participant of this summer school for the fourth time, and as a double-degree program student – from INSA Lyon and Tohoku University – I hope to be able to give you some insight about this year's ELyT School in Sendai.
ELyT Lab and ELyT School
Cooperation between INSA Lyon and Japan was initiated with a partnership with Tohoku University, Sendai, in 1995. Since then, liaison offices were created both at INSA and in Tohoku University and a double-diploma program was signed in 2006. One of the most important steps towards a sustainable partnership was the creation of an international associated laboratory between the two institutions and Ecole Centrale of Lyon, which was acknowledged by CNRS, French National Centre for Scientific Research, in 2008. This laboratory was named ELyT Lab (Engineering and science LYon-Tohoku LABoratory).
In order to enhance student mobility from both countries, a summer school was established. The aim of this program is to help students discover the other country's environment as well as visiting ELyT Lab laboratories. The first edition took place in September 2009: twenty students from Japan came to Lyon for two weeks. The second edition was held in Sendai, in October 2010, where twenty students from Lyon were able to go to Japan. Since then, alternatively held one year in France and the next year in Japan, the program continued until the sixth edition of this year in Sendai. The number of institutions involved also increased with the ongoing program with Kobe University (Japan), Tokai University (Japan), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), University of Saarland-Fraunhofer (Germany), KTH (Sweden) and ENISE (France). My first participation in ELyT School was in 2011 in Lyon (third ELyT School) so I could experience twice the summer school in France (2011 and 2013) and twice in Japan (2012 and 2014).
This year's program
ELyT School is a program that involves both scientific and social content. During the stay, the students attend lectures given by eminent professors, they visit laboratories that are part of ELyT Lab's international collaboration and they work in groups to discuss about current scientific issues. They also have to present their current studies as part of graduate schools. This year's schedule comprises eight lectures from various fields ranging from electrical science to neurosciences. As for the group project, the students were divided into four groups with subjects such as renewable energy, nuclear waste, new energies for transportation and safety and energy production. We had five time slots in the schedule to work as a group and to exchange their opinions so to give a presentation of 30 minutes about a specific issue concerning these subjects.
As part of the scientific program, thanks to Tohoku Electric Power Company, the students had the opportunity to observe and study on the most advanced-type natural gas-burning power generator in Tohoku region. We also visited a tsunami-devastated area, Onagawa city, to see with our own eyes the consequences of the events from 2011. We observed a minute of silence for the victims from the tsunami.
Besides the scientific content of the program, some cultural activities were organized for the students to experience Japanese culture. A tea ceremony was held for us to enjoy Japanese famous green tea in a traditional Japanese house. We also had a country tour to visit Tohoku's first World Heritage: Hiraizumi and its famous Golden Hall (Konjiki-do) as well as the Jodo Temple at Motsuji Temple. The Japanese host students also held several events for the foreign students to enjoy onsen or Japanese-style get-together parties at izakayas. One free day allowed the students to travel around Sendai or further, as some of them went to Tokyo to visit Japan's famous capital.