College of Arts and Sciences/University of Washington（USA）/2014～2015/I vaguely thought about studying overseas when I was in junior high. I was in Shanghai at the time, and I had friends who went on to study in Singapore and America, so I thought I would
1 What made you decide to study overseas?
I vaguely thought about studying overseas when I was in junior high. I was in Shanghai at the time, and I had friends who went on to study in Singapore and America, so I thought I would like to live overseas too. I decided to do it in the fall of my second year at university. I had the chance to talk to a student a few years older than me who had studied in the AIKOM Program and as I heard him speak I decided that I wanted to study overseas too.
2 Please tell us about the best experience you had studying abroad.
The best thing was visiting Yosemite National Park during spring vacation. I went with 3 good friends, and we fully enjoyed America’s great natural sites. I had been in the mountaineering club in my high school in Japan, and I really enjoyed hiking again.
3 Please tell us about the hardest part of your overseas study.
The hardest thing was the long days stuck inside the library having to study. In particular, the first month or so after I arrived was the worst. The feeling of novelty that I experienced at the start of my stay began to fade and my studies piled up so I had to spend many days in the library.
4 What types of classes did you take?
I mainly studied international politics, the same topic that I had been studying at the University of Tokyo. The actual course titles included “The rise of Asia”, “International Institutions” and “Introduction to Globalization”. I also took classes in subjects such as geopolitics and the advancement of society that I couldn’t have studied in Tokyo.
5 What were you involved in outside of class? (Clubs, volunteering, internships etc.)
I took part in FIUTS, a foreign student event group, the Japanese students association and the Rubix Cube club. Since FIUTS organized local trips on three-day weekends, I took two trips and made new friends. The Japanese student association had exchange events with students studying Japanese, so I was able to meet people who had an interest in Japan. At the Rubix Cube club, I could meet people who shared a common interest. Following the suggestion of a friend, I also took part in volunteer activities such as providing food to homeless people in a church and helping set up university events.
6 How do you want to make use of your experience overseas?
Through my overseas study experience, I improved my English skills and gained the ability to more effectively listen to people’s opinions. I am sure there will be opportunities to use English in my work in the future, so I expect I will make use of my English skills then. As for the ability to listen to people’s opinions, I think I can use that in any situation where I communicate with other people, not just in the workplace.
7 If you have any advice for students planning to study abroad, please tell us.
When you study abroad, I think you will experience a big gap between your expectations of student life and reality, and that will come as a shock. But you have to expect that everybody finds it tough and not worry about it too much.
8 If you have anything else you want to say, including any experience that left an impression on you, please do so here.
Studying overseas itself is not that special or rare. What’s important is what you do when you are there.