Studying hard in Japan in hope of making contribution to home country
Second year student at the Graduate School of Political Science, Waseda University
Wint Wint Aung Khaing (from Myanmar)
The first time I came to Japan was in 2007. My Japanese friend was the one who invited me and I stayed in the country for two weeks. Before coming to Japan, I studied Japanese language and culture at Yangon University of Foreign Language. From the Japanese textbooks that I used, I learnt about Japanese ethics and manners, and Japan as an economic superpower. My impression when I came here was that Japanese people were kind and Japan was a beautiful country with filled with nature. It was the reason why in 2009 I decided to study abroad at Nanzan University in Nagoya city.
During my fourth year of studies at Nanzan University, the sudden outbreak of the Rakhine State riots in Myanmar drew international attention. As a Myanmar myself, it was an issue I cared a lot and hence decided that one day I would like to study more about it in a graduate school.
After graduating from Nanzan University, I went back to Myanmar to work. Due to the training I received from my undergraduate studies at Nanzan University, I was so used to looking at issues from a global perspective. But gradually, I started to be able to examine them from the political point of view as well. Then one day, a senior of mine told me about the AO Admissions Examination of Special Scholarship Programs Exclusively for the Republic of the Union of Maynmar of Waseda University. I decided to give it a try in 2015 and got accepted by the Graduate School of Political Science, where I studied about the democratization of Myanmar.
I feel very comfortable living in Japan. It was the same kind of feeling I got living in my hometown. I guess I would say that Japan is my second hometown. Studying in Japan not only allowed me to interact with Japanese people, but also students from China, Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Africa and etc. It made me realized the importance of relationship and respecting others regardless of language, culture or skin color. I feel that Waseda University is the doorway that connects my home country to the world.
Surrounded by passionate professors, helpful Japanese and non-Japanese friends, I feel very fortunate to have so many people around me who will lend me a hand when I need them.
Myanmar is currently in the midst of democratizing itself. There are many problems and issues that the country has to face and deal with in the process. I hope that my experiences and studies at Waseda University will prepare me to be the bridge between Myanmar and the world, and I pray from the bottom of my heart that it will overcome all obstacles and achieve real democracy and prosperity.
What surprised me when I came to Japan?
I was surprised that Japanese people eat raw fish. In Myanmar, we have no custom of eating raw fish and so it was hard for me to understand why Japanese people enjoy eating sashimi and sushi. To the Japanese people, eating fresh fish raw is healthy (nutrients are not lost through heat) but to me, uncooked food is unhygienic and I would consider it bad for health. As such, it took me two whole years before I could finally appreciate eating sashimi and sushi. Now, I enjoy eating raw fish in Japan just like any other Japanese people.