A report produced by a group of Japanese students who visited the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus has praised the benefits of studying within a World Heritage Site and the skills of the academics who shared their knowledge of the area’s landscape and history.
Twelve students from Waseda University in central Tokyo spent ten days in Ambleside studying the work of Wordsworth, Ruskin and others as well as topics ranging from sustainability to how the area should develop. The trip, which took place in February, saw the group visit locations as varied as Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter, and Ford Park in Ulverston where volunteers have taken a lead to protect their park.
The students have now produced a glossy report summarising their trip and highlighting the difference the experience has made.
“It was impressive for me that they stood up to change society and continue to appeal to citizens about the importance of ‘thinking on their own’ beyond the time,” student Mahya Ishiguro wrote. Her colleague Yukino Ito added: “Before this field trip I was distant for my sense of value because my daily life was far from fruitful…However this way of thinking was changed after coming back to Tokyo. Nowadays I think my behaviour and value can be one of the causes of determining the others behaviours for greater or lesser.”
Dr Chris Loynes, reader in outdoor studies at the University of Cumbria, arranged for the visitors to sample a variety of outdoor experiences for which the Ambleside campus is well known. Writing in the study, he summarised the experience: “This is a way in which these adventure skills are important; they make us alive but also they often translate into taking us places where the awe of nature motivates and changes your behaviour.”
The visit took three years to plan and it’s hoped similar field trips can be arranged in the future.
“The Lake District offers so much to learn from,” Professor Takako Takano from Waseda University said adding her praise for the way the university arranged the visit. “They are first class in designing and providing experiential learning based on their long-term commitment in outdoor/environmental education. Secondly, exceptional beauty of Ambleside, where their campus is located.”