11 June 2014: Immersed in all things Kyoto

Written by Clare Isabel Ee | Images provided by CIPE

Professor of Humanities Jay Garfield and Assistant Professor of Humanities Cathay Liu led 17 Yale-NUS students to the historic city of Kyoto, Japan, in February 2014 for a week-long intensive study of Japanese Buddhist philosophy, society and culture.


Before students left Yale-NUS, their pre-trip preparations included readings and an orientation conducted by graduate students from Kyoto University on Japanese culture and Kyoto’s history. In Kyoto, the students attended Professor Garfield’s seminar on Buddhist philosophy at Kyoto University and explored the city’s rich history and culture through its temples, shrines, museums, gardens, palaces and castles.

“I felt that the reading we had done before the trip really helped me appreciate the experience a lot more than I did the previous two times when I had gone with family and friends,” said Ling Xi Min, a student who went on the Learning Across Boundaries (LAB) to Kyoto. “The city was great for sure, but the new lens was the most novel, meaningful aspect of this program.”


The students also experienced the quiet peace of Japanese Buddhism in the city of Nara. Molly Ma, a Dean’s Fellow who assisted in coordinating the trip, shared: “The students and I spent the night in a quiet Buddhist temple up in the hills. We had a great time eating the simple yet delicious vegetarian meals, attempting to meditate, and generally getting to know each other better.”


About Learning Across Boundaries (LABs)

LABs provide students an opportunity for experiential learning in the global classroom. These LABs reinforce the importance and relevance of the curriculum by exploring intersecting themes in their broader contexts. Past LABS have included the LAB in Kyoto, a journey through Literary Burma exploring classic works from the colonial period through to contemporary works of non-fiction, poetry and film, and a trip studying biodiversity and conducting fieldwork in Somiedo National Park in northern Spain.