Daily Life of an International Student Part 2: What Surprised Me the Most in Japan
Updated in November 2020
What surprised me most while studying in Japan was the many opportunities for international exchange. Japanese universities are actively creating such opportunities. For example, at Chubu University, where I am from, more than 10 study abroad and overseas training programs are held every year. Students from any department can participate in these programs. When I was in my second year of graduate school, I participated in the University of British Columbia English Short-term Training Program. Just by participating in it, you can get a scholarship covering the program.
During the training, you will have the opportunity to interact deeply with the local people through interviews and other methods. Even if we are viewing the same thing, people born and raised in different cultures can have very different views. My values were also greatly influenced. I think it was a very good experience.
On the other hand, there are many international students who are studying in Japan for a short period of time, so you can experience different cultures at the international center on campus in Japan without going abroad.
Graduate students have even more opportunities for international exchange. The most important thing in research is novelty. It makes no sense to work without knowing that a research goal has already been achieved. For one's research topic, it is necessary to clarify what kind of solution is currently being presented and how far it is being advanced in the world. Therefore, each laboratory is cooperating with other laboratories. They will support you when you attend an academic conference.
Furthermore, our laboratory receives student interns from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand every year. During summer break, members of our laboratory also go to their laboratories and participate in internships. The university will cover the transportation costs.
I have not participated in this internship, but when I attended an international conference, I received 300,000 yen. The conference was held in Belgium, so the school paid for everything from visa application costs to transportation including international flight. For me as a student at the time, it was a huge sum of money. It was the most surprising aspect for me.