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Student Report: An irreplaceable time at Loughborough University

From November 9, 2018 to February 7, 2019, Ms. Kyoko Fujihira, a doctoral student of sport sciences at Waseda University, visited the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University in the United Kingdom as a visiting student through the Top Global University Program. She studied the analytical methods of blood samples and appetite under Professor Stensel. Below is a report from Ms. Fujihira who visited Loughborough University.

Student Report

1. About the travel support
I visited the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University from November 9, 2018 to February 7, 2019, as a visiting student through Top Global University Program. The purposes of this visit were to interact with talented students and young researchers of Professor Stensel and to learn the analytical methods of blood samples and appetite. I would like to write about what I have learned in the last 3 months.

2. About Loughborough University

Loughborough University has two campuses located in Loughborough and London, U.K. The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences is located in Loughborough. Loughborough University began as the first technical college in the U.K. in 1966. The 437-acre campus is the largest in the U.K. as a single campus university. Loughborough University was ranked as the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the global 2018 QS rankings. Also, Loughborough University has been named the University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019. There are many outstanding study equipments such as an MRI, ultrasound imaging machine, and two climatic chambers. Also, the wonderful things about Loughborough University are that we can do research with international experts and leaders in the field of sports science such as Professor Stensel, as well as talented students and young researchers.

3. About the study in Loughborough

My studying desk was provided in the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), where I spent time with more than 70 Ph.D. students. Instead of staying in their individual laboratory’s rooms, Ph.D. students in the field of sports science conducted research in open spaces. Experiments are mainly conducted in a shared laboratory, and laboratory use and equipment storage are all shared by electronic data. I was able to have discussions with students in a wide range of fields including sports biomechanics, sports medicine, sports management, as well as students of the exercise physiology laboratory every day. In a conversation with a student outside the field of expertise, I was able to notice a new perspective on my research. In three months, I joined four studies conducted in Professor Stensel’s research laboratory.  Ph.D. students and experimental subjects were very friendly and asked many questions about Japan. A few people have been visited Japan and everyone told me about their wonderful memories in Japan. The studies at the national center was a well-established experiment using specialized equipments, and I was able to learn how to construct the research while participating in these experiments. In these 3 months, I visited the 2018 British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and conference in Harrogate in North Yorkshire with my supervisor. BASES is one of the largest sports science conference in the U.K. In the conferences, I was able to learn about cutting-edge research from leading researchers in the U.K. and overseas. Especially, a passionate debate on diet, exercise and health between Professor Jason Gill and Dr. Trudi Deakin deepened my knowledge on how to handle sugar in weight management. In addition, the sessions on the specialized field of appetite adjustment, I was able to learn about intrinsic and extrinsic appetite adjustment.

4. About my daily life in Loughborough

I stayed in a flat (a small student dormitory) about 25 minutes on foot from the university. My flatmates were all kind and interested in Japan and asked a lot of questions. We cooked together, and we had a sushi party at the end of my stay. Furthermore, during my three-month stay, I went to various parts of the U.K. on the weekends. I visited London, Nottingham, Bristol, Bath, Cotswolds, Oxford, Cambridge, and Lincoln during the three months. It is a great memory that I could enjoy the historical cityscape of England. My wonderful three months have been brought by wonderful friends. Many Ph.D. students come from various countries, and I was able to spend time with friends from Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Spain, Netherlands and Switzerland, and share the food and culture of each country. At Loughborough University, there was a lot of social events such as a Christmas party, farewell parties and the daily tea time. Those meetings helped me participate in cultural exchange. Having many opportunities to interact through such parties is one of the privileges of studying abroad.

5. Ending message

Finally, I would like to thank my supervisor at Loughborough University, Professor David Stensel. He is considered an international expert and leader in the field of exercise and appetite regulation as well as physical activity and health. He was not just my academic supervisor but also a mentor. The three months I was able to study with him is an irreplaceable time for me. He taught me not only the method of research but also how to live as a researcher. He always cared about me and sometimes catched up with me using some Japanese. Thanks to his kindness, I was able to spend a wonderful three months. Again, I really appreciate Professor David Stensel, his family, his laboratory members, Associate Professor Masashi Miyashita, his laboratory members and many staff of Waseda University.

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