Pembroke Undergraduates Travel to Japan for Technos International Week


The Annual ‘Technos International Week’ is an important event in Japan that promotes exchange and understanding between international participants and the students of Technos International College.

This year, four Pembroke undergraduates, along with our Academic Director Nancy Braithwaite, were given the opportunity to travel to Japan for 2 weeks and participate in the event.

Nancy shares: “2023 marked the first in-person Technos international week since 2016. The International week is a cornerstone of our very special relationship with the Tanaka family and has its roots in the visionary commitment to peaceful international relations and cultural exchange set in place by the late Dr Kenji Tanaka, Honorary and Foundation Fellow of Pembroke College. Rooted in the theme of values, the warmth and hospitality of our new Japanese friends throughout an extraordinary fortnight, will have a lasting impact on all of our lives.”

The students participating this year were Harrison Kaye (2020, Chinese), Sofia Panourgias (2021, History and Modern Languages), Jamil Hasan (2020, Economics and Management) and Ayeza Akhtar (2021, Medicine). They all found this experience to be incredibly valuable, and a unique opportunity for them to create life-long friendships and learn about Japanese culture.

Here are some of their reflections from the trip:

Harrison Kaye

“If you have an interest in Japan you will not find a better opportunity to explore that interest than this trip. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to be a part of the ‘Pembroke 5’ (as we were known on the attendance register) and to explore a country that I have admired from afar for so long. The two weeks were a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from people all over the world with a shared interest in expanding their worldview, and I know that I will cherish the memories and friendships I made for a long time.”

Two images of Harrison and other Pembroke/Technos students, and another image of Harrison feeding a capybara


Sofia Panourgias

“Everyone involved in the activities – staff and students alike – was eager not only to make us feel at home by providing a great sense of hospitality and accessible topics throughout the programme but wished to impart their knowledge and experience to us. Indeed, one of my fondest memories of International Week was the casual way in which I was able to speak to such a range of people. We would each relate the different ways in which we grew up and were used to living, but also found striking similarities – in favourite foods and films, for example.”


Sofia and Harrison in the left photo, and a photo in the right of a traditional Japanese temple


Jamil Hasan

“Being given the chance to travel to Japan for two weeks and experience the culture first hand from students in Japan was an amazing experience. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will be something that I remember forever and will forever keep close to one of the most amazing few weeks that I have ever experienced. The rich culture, the diverse and delicious food, the breath-taking landscapes, and the unique way of life is definitely something that I would strongly recommend to anyone considering visiting Asia. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been able to participate in the Technos International Week at the end of my last term at Oxford, and I could not be evermore grateful to Pembroke, Technos College, Nancy, Matt, and the lifelong friends I made in this trip.”


Photo of Jamil and a group students (left) and another photo of Jamil in Tokyo


Ayeza Akhtar

“The friendships I have made at IW23 are bound to endure far beyond the two-week trip, and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to return to Japan and reunite with my newfound friends. Dr. Tanaka's legacy is deeply ingrained in this experience, and I am committed to continuing the spirit of cultural understanding and friendship that he championed.”

Photo of Ayezha Akthar and a friend, and a photo of the Pembroke group with the Technos International Group


Full personal reports summarising their experiences are available on our Travel Funds page here. These reports document an array of unique and enriching insights into Japanese life and culture, which the students gained whilst there.

Current students should keep an eye on their emails during the next academic year for applications to join the 2024 Technos International Week.