Faculty of Science and EngineeringWaseda University

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Student Voice: HAN Yean

From Brunei Darussalam

  • Name
    HAN Yean
  • Country/ Region of Citizenship
    Brunei Darussalam
  • Graduated from
    University of Liverpool
  • Department
    Department of Integrative Bioscience and Biomedical Engineering (Master’s)

MEXT Scholarship (Embassy Recommendation) honored student

 

How did you find out about Waseda University?

When I was living in Taiwan with my mother’s family, Waseda University was very well known there.  So when I was young I already knew about Waseda University.  But I didn’t know what I wanted to study when I grew up.  I found that Waseda University was also very well known for robotics.  So I decided to come here.  Waseda University was my first choice and I’m very happy to be selected here.

 

Why did you choose Waseda University?

At the beginning, I wanted to come to Waseda University for biorobotics and my seniors suggested me to look into other universities.  So I also looked at Tokyo University and Tokyo Institute of Technology because they are also good at engineering.  I saw the professor in Waseda who is my current supervisor was doing humanoid robotics which I was very interested in and he was the first person in robot made a walking human robot.  So I wanted to come to Waseda to learn from him.

 

How did you get information for our program?

Mostly from the Waseda webpage.  Because I think I am the first Brunei student comes to Nishiwaseda Campus for the international program.  At the beginning I was thinking of entering Waseda through normal Japanese application.  But I came here for a year of research student and then tried to go to the webpage to see how I should apply to become an official student.  Then I came up with the AIGP (English-based graduate) program page which was easier to understand guidelines for me to apply.

 

Did you have any concerns before coming to Japan?

Before studying in Japan, I came to Japan quite a few times as homestays and learning Japanese for about a month.  I don’t have much concern for the daily life but I may have concerns in studies, because I have never actually gone through Japanese education system before.  There are a lot of stories from other countries saying that Japanese research life is a little bit different compared to other places.  That is my only concern.  I found that I should not worry so much after entering research lab.

 

Have you had any difficulties when you started a new life here?

Most things are fine but I think the only hard part is housing or finding a place to live.  When I went to an agent, I found 20 good places.  But all house owners immediately refused to rent a room to a foreigner when my agent called.  I think the system can be better, if a landload could write a recommendation letter to the next landload when we move for example.  Almost all international students cannot live in a proper house if they don’t have enough budget.  Because sometimes better housing outside is cheaper than school dormitories.  The issue is finding a place to live, a landload and also a guarantor.

 

How is your life in Japan and Waseda?

So far it seems normal student life.  For most international students who are going to come to Japan, they read stories online saying that it’s hard to make friends in Japan.  But I managed to meet some friends.  The thing about studying overseas is that you shouldn’t think of waiting for other people to come and make friends, you have to try to be the first one to talk to the locals.  I found it is not so different from other countries in studying in Japan other than culture and language.

 

What do you do in your free time?

Mostly I’m going to Dojo (a training room) for Kendo.  Depending on the day, I usually go to a training room for Kyudo (Japanese archery) because we can’t do archery in Brunei.  As I also like to shoot arrows, when I came to Japan I went to the training center to join the Kyudojo.  I’m still trying to set up my schedule, so I have time for the sports complex here.  The reason why I do martial arts is because of teachers.  Some teachers don’t just teach technically but teach how to be a person, how you should think for yourself and learn by yourself.  I feel Japanese martial arts are simple but not easy and look clean.

I also go around Tokyo such as parks.  And only once a year my sponsor sets up a study trip outside Tokyo for students otherwise personally I don’t have much time to travel Tokyo myself.  But throughout the stay in Japan, I will be given opportunity to go myself Tokyo to understand local problems or maybe cultural exchange to understand not just through Tokyo but through other prefectures of Japan.  The image of Japan for most of students is always Kyoto.  So I’m very lucky that the scholarship sponsor brings me outside Tokyo.

 

How are the relationships with your supervisor and lab members?

I would say it is very smooth so far especially when I met with my professor.  He is very kind and gave me a lot of advice.  The biggest advice was that he asked me to study more Japanese.  Because for robotics, we see a lot of large corporations and all these technologies are from small companies in Japan.  Those are usually very local and they don’t speak English.

And also seniors are very helpful when I entered the lab.  They teach me what to do especially research direction.  They will guide me which thesis and research paper to look at so that I can follow what they are doing.  Once they finish research, if I’m interested in continuing the research I can pick it up.  So far, I think I can say I’m very lucky.

 

Outline of the research

My current research is based on the music playing robot , WAS-4R, of the Music Group in Takanishi Laboratory which utilises a mechanical lung along with human-tissue like material for the air valve in the throat and the mouth to play a saxophone like a human by controlling all the mentioned components in unison.

 

What is your career goal after your degree completion?

It is very white.  I think most likely staying in Japan if I’m lucky to stay, because I can understand how competitive it is to join Japanese companies.  If not I will go back to Brunei because I am also going through industry diversification.  Using robotics in manufacturing may be also one direction.

 

Short message to the prospective students

in English

It is a wonderful thing to be studying abroad and interact with people of differing culture and language.  As much as intimidating the thought of leaving our comfort zone may be, the knowledge and experience far exceeds our perceived risk.

Waseda University has a wide range of interesting and great students and activities, plan right and you will have a great time during your studies here.

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