Faculty of Science and EngineeringWaseda University

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Student Voice: Sylvia Yuk Yee Chung

     From The United Kingdom

  • Name
    Sylvia Yuk Yee Chung
  • Country/ Region of Citizenship
    The United Kingdom
  • Graduated from
    University of Kent (BSc in Chemistry and MSc in Physics)
  • Department
    Department of Electronic and Physical Systems (Doctor’s)

MEXT Scholarship (Embassy Recommendation) honored student

For my BSc, I simulated semiconductor bandgaps and for my MSc, I simulated nanoceria vibration. The themes are different but I equally enjoyed both. I decided to do my PhD in something that could combine aspects of the two research projects and now, I am simulating phonons in nanowire semiconductors.

I was lucky enough to visit Tokyo a few times during my BSc years, but the first time I came, I knew instantly I wanted to live here for a while. There are so many positives of living here such as the quality of food, the transport, the numerous festivals and celebration days, so many affordable all you can eat barbecue places, the 24 hour konbinis, 5am close restaurants, the list is endless.

I first heard about Waseda University when I was watching the Olympics a few years ago and noticed one of the Japanese swimmers was doing pretty well. Did a bit of research and found out he was a Waseda Univ. student. The following year, I applied for the MEXT scholarship and coincidentally, Waseda Univ. was the most ideal choice for me, location and research wise.

What I enjoy the most about studying at Waseda University is that there are a lot of opportunities provided, extra-curricular and academic wise. The University has status so there are always events where famous and established people are attending as speakers etc. Also, the support available for international students is great. One of the staff in the international section of the Graduate Office for Science and Engineering recognises me by face and name now so it’s always a welcoming touch when I visit.

Also, there are many opportunities to attend conferences, visit research institutions and factories in Japan. For example, I’ve visited the ROHM semiconductor factory in Kyoto and the NIMS facilities in Tsukuba. As of writing, our next conference location is in Nagoya, luckily for me as I now get to visit another part of Japan. Another conference we are due to attend is in Hokkaido, so I am also looking forward to that. My research background is chemistry and physics, but now that I’m part of an engineering lab, I get to visit facilities that I probably would have had less chance of experiencing had I stuck with my original degree themes.

For my future career plan, I have no set plan as to what I want my future career to entail for now. All I know is that I want to find a job here in Japan after I graduate. Before I came to Japan, I didn’t fully consider getting a job here but after heading back to the UK for 3 weeks during the holidays, I came to the realisation that Japan is where I want to be. Also, the issues with Brexit are undeterminable and I want to experience it from afar. Of course, every country has its pros and cons but for me, the pros of living in Japan heavily outweigh the pros of living in the UK.

For prospective graduates, there are moments where rules are iron clad and there is no leeway allowed, so be prepared for that but don’t be discouraged. The circles here are very intense with their time commitment and their hierarchy status, and most only accept you if you are here for 4 years. I’ve been practising belly dance for at least 5 years, but I was told by the circle here that I’d need to start from the beginner classes and progress a level each year.

– Unless you speak Japanese, it’s not easy to make friends as most are quite shy with their English. For this reason, I recommend attending ICC events because I made a few of my best friends there.

– Don’t knock it till you try it but using an umbrella for strong sunny days really does help with the heat and sweat.

– If you’re wavering about whether to apply, do it. Living and studying in Japan has changed me so much for the better, which wouldn’t have happened if I did not apply. I am eternally grateful to MEXT because this is the best experience I have ever had.

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