GLOCAL VI Summer School

In late August, members of GLOCAL VI had the opportunity to go to Kyoto, Japan to participate in summer school, titled Transforming Kansai: Resilience, Revitalisation and Reimagining Growth in a Mature Economy

We asked those who attended to share with us: What made you choose to go to summer school, and what was your favorite memory?


When I applied to GLOCAL I was hesitant when choosing between Track E and D, two completely different sets of cities that followed two different topics I was passionate about. That’s why finding out that the GLOCAL Summer School 2023 would be held at Kyoto University was one of the best news I could have gotten – it meant getting to study in one of my dream universities even though I ended up (proudly) joining Track E and studying in Rotterdam for my second year.

During our stay in Kyoto, thanks to the detailed and thoughtful schedule designed by the GLOCAL faculty and staff in Japan, we had a unique opportunity to dive into the insides of not only the fascinating academic research on the Japanese economy, past and present, and the extremely innovative corporate and start-up ecosystems in the Kansai region, but also the cultural and creative actors, organizations, and sites that make of Kyoto a truly global city altogether. Having the opportunity to propose policy actions reimagining local growth through alternative modes of globalization in front of government officials from Kyoto City for them to consider was just the cherry on top of this fantastic experience.


When I think back on my summer, attending the Glocal Summer School hosted by the University of Kyoto is undoubtly one of my greatest higlights. Kyoto’s captivating blend of history and vibrant modern life made learning an unforgettable experience. Discussions with academic and private-sector experts on entrepreneurship, sustainability, tourism, and economic resilience have truly enriched my GLOCAL academic journey. Nonetheless, spending one evening on the other side of the world by the Kimo River with friends who’ve become my family over the past year has enriched the way I see the world. I joined the Summer School to experience academic excellence in a completely different cultural and academic context than I was used to in Mexico and Europe, and in return, I gained a treasure trove of lasting memories.


I went to summer school because it was one of the events that can meet GLOCALs in other parts of the world. Plus, Kyoto is a unique city that combines ancient architecture and modern facilities; its creativity and culture will increase my understanding of being global.

Everything was perfect in summer school thanks to the schedule from Kyoto University. The best experience was perhaps the field trip where we were assigned to different parts of Kyoto for a half-day trip. It was entertaining, fun and educational.


1. I wanted to experience Japanese culture in a different and deeper way. And I’m also interested to the economic and companies in Kyoto as well as Japan.

2. I enjoyed that we visited a lot of companies and gain a lot of insights. Also meeting up with our classmates again after so long time in the summer vacation was exciting.


1. Because it’s #OnlyatGLOCAL! I appreciate every opportunity spending with those sweet and friendly people with different culture and background in different places. I always feel we are all very close, just like family members! Also, I’m very interested in exploring the spark created through the collision between globalization and localization of Kyoto City. Is Kyoto only about the tourism industry?🤣

2. It’s the last night of the summer school when we have the closing ceremony! I really appreciate the elaborate planning of Kyoto University. Everything was perfect! The traditional Japanese style course dishes were very delicious and l was so moved when l know the school really made hard effort to book the dining room for us, with such a beautiful Japanese garden.


1. Because I think this is a rare opportunity to explore a “Global city”! Kyoto is famous for its long history and culture, it is the representative of Japanese history, but also the forefront of innovation—Nintendo is in Kyoto! In addition, Kyoto University provides the perfect “Innovation experience” for summer school. In addition to exciting visits to manufacturing or green innovation enterprises, we also have the opportunity to explore Kyoto ourselves, no matter which point of view, this is a not to miss the summer school!

2. My favorite part of the tour was when I and my team explored Kyoto’s most famous part of Kyoto Arashiyama part. Despite the bad weather, we saw monkeys in the mountains, katsura River at the foot of the mountain, misty bamboo groves and scenic shrines are all areas that attract global tourists but also have a problem with overwhelming tourism, it is very meaningful that we try to provide the local residents with some useful suggestions during the experience.


I choose to go to summer school because I love how everything in Japan is aesthetically pleasing. Everything ended up being beautiful and well organized down to the foods we ate.

I can’t pick one- it was just beautiful to see my friends and classmates after a long time.


1. I decided to go summer school because I had not attended summer school before. I believed summer school would be a perfect platform for me to gain an exposure about a new city like Kyoto in a short period of one week.

2. One of the most fulfilling experience for me from the summer school was working with my team and winning the prize for our group project where we had to analyse Kyoto as a global city and present its problems and solutions. Besides, I enjoyed visiting different Kyoto based organisations and learning about their works.


As I am a student from track D (Kyoto track) it made a lot of sense for me to go to the summer school as it provided the perfect opportunity to travel around Japan before my semester in Kyoto starts. One of my favorite moments from the summer school was trying out one the famous onsen (hot springs), which was incredibly relaxing especially after a very intense and packed summer school


I decided to go to Kyoto for several reasons – to see Japan (I’ve never been before) and because of the content which sounded really interesting. The week was packed with lots of different trips focusing on traditional industries such as crafts and tea, while also looking at modernisation in Japan with startups in AI and advanced technology. My favourite experiences were going to the peaceful city of Uji to try their famous tea and the final night of the summer school where we all sat together at the riverside in Kyoto!


1. The reason for participating in summer school is because of my interest in Japan and Kyoto. It is my first time to go to Japan, so many experiences and understandings were completely new.

2.My favorite experience was when we went on a field trip with our team, visited a very interesting shrine, and even encountered a heavy rain that day! But the time spent that day was unforgettable.


1. The topic of the summer school was about “Reimagining Growth in a Mature Economy”—this is something that’s entirely new to me, as someone who came from a developing economy and grew up only learning how to start from scratch; how to grow something from nothing. Therefore, I decided to go in order to widen my perspective and allow me to think differently. Everything I ever knew about Japan came from history books and media, so going to summer school and immersing myself in Japan’s culture would add another dimension to that.

2. As a tea lover, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Chakabuki, a game of guessing different kinds of tea in Japan’s tea capital, Uji. It was so fun seeing everyone’s competitive side, including myself and the professors!

It engaged all the five senses: 1) hearing about all the different qualities of the tea varieties in Japan, 2) touching and feeling the textures of the coarse dried leaves and elements, 3) carefully observing the color of the tea, as well as the kanji characters that we had to replicate by hand, 4) smelling the different aromas of the tea leaves, and 5) finally taking a sip to taste the freshly-brewed tea, with varying levels of sweetness, bitterness, and smokiness—some even tasted bizarre, like toasted rice and seaweed!

Overall, it enriched our learnings from the morning lectures about the History of the Japan-US Tea Trade, and about Crafting Sensory Experiences due to Consumer Culture & Aesthetic Capitalism. It was definitely an unforgettable and extraordinary learning experience.