USA/College of Arts and Sciences (PEAK)/Undergraduate Student/My name is Chiwu Ishido Kim. I am half-Japanese and half-Korean. I was born and raised in New York. My stay at the University of Tokyo is the first time I have lived in Japan.
My name is Chiwu Ishido Kim. I am half-Japanese and half-Korean. I was born and raised in New York. My stay at the University of Tokyo is the first time I have lived in Japan.
What attracted you to Komaba, UTokyo?
I have always been interested in expanding my boundaries, and as someone who has lived in New York for all of his life, I decided that it was time for me to go out into the world. The University of Tokyo served as both a prestigious academic institution to further my interests in East Asian relations while at the same time providing one of the most exotic places on Earth, Tokyo, for me to explore. Both of these combined made for an offer that I simply couldn’t refuse.
Describe your transition to Komaba, UTokyo.
My transition to Komaba was filled with thrills and challenges, as it was both the first time for me to live in a foreign country and the first time that I was living alone. Faculty and classmates supported me along the way, and I was able to witness myself become an adult. Coming to Komaba has made me grow as a person far more than I ever have in my life.
Describe the friendships and connections you’ve made at Komaba, UTokyo.
Living in a foreign country means you have to rely on others, and I have become very close with my fellow international students. We have gone on trips together and explored Japan, helped each other with homework, and communicated with each other over various things about life in Tokyo. These strong bonds have proved to be one of my most treasured gifts in my time here at Komaba, as my friends here have helped me in countless ways in the short time I have been here.
At the same time, I have also had the pleasure of interacting with domestic students here at Komaba. The domestic students are proactive, curious, and eager to welcome us international students, often guiding us through the nuances of life in Komaba in ways that no one else can. The domestic students have been amazing in their continued effort to help us international students, and often invite us to many clubs and events.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new international student or researcher, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to dive to new depths! Trying something new is in many ways the whole theme of studying here at Komaba, and taking that first step is always the key. Tokyo is an amazing place with many hidden gems, and traversing this mysterious metropolis alone is a fantastic experience. Komaba gives you the resources to really put your thoughts into action, so you should take advantage of every opportunity you get to both explore your interests and discover new ones.
Any stories you would like to share about being an international student or researcher at Komaba, UTokyo?
In just two months of coming to Komaba, my classmates and I organized several trips to various parts of Tokyo, allowing us to experience raw Japanese culture. These events were completely student-organized, and portray the opportunities given to international students to move as an independent body. These trips have definitely been some of the highlights of my stay here at Komaba, and I hope to continue participating in more during my stay here.