Interview with international students: Why come to Waseda? (Part 2 of 2)

Why international students come to study at Waseda?

Waseda University prides itself for being the university in Japan with the most number of international students (5,400 as of November 2016) who come from over 112 countries around the world. Interested in why these students came to Waseda and what they study at the University, Waseda Weekly (an online magazine for Waseda students) decided to interview four international students to find out what they have to say. In part one, Waseda Weekly featured two students from Egypt and Uzbekistan. In part two (i.e. this article), the other two students from Canada and Taiwan share their experiences in Japan and at Waseda University.

*Click here to view part one of the article.


Why did you come to Waseda University?


Géraldine Jourdain (from Canada)

When I travelled around Asia while I was still a teenager, I met many kind and cool Japanese people. That was one of the reasons why I decided to come to Japan. 16 years have passed since then, and my “love story” with Japan continues.


Wang Chih-hao (from Taiwan)

I was interested in Japanese animation (or anime) and manga when I was little, and decided to study Japanese in junior high school. As I grew older, I wanted to improve my language skills while studying the most advanced technologies in Japan, and that was why I came to Waseda University.

High-tech image, low-tech reality



Géraldine Jourdain (from Canada)

A PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (International Studies Program) and a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) scholarship holder, Jourdain is currently doing research on human trafficking and refugees at Waseda University. She hopes that her research will ultimately contribute to solving real world’s issues and problems and is interested in working for international organizations in Asia in future.

I think there is a huge gap between overseas people’s perception of Japan and what the country really is. For example, people from abroad tend to have the impression that Japan is a leading technologically advanced country especially in robotics, but in fact, the most up-to-date technology has not quite pervaded in the country. Sometimes, it feels like the country has stopped developing since two decades ago. Even today, Japan is still far away from being a cashless society and paying by cash instead of credit cards is still mainstream here. Digitalization is also not widespread. You have to visit the city wards to register your residential address while you can do it online in other countries. Of course, these are not necessarily a bad thing and I think Japan is slow to change largely because it has the tendency to want to preserve traditions and its unique identity.

I want to be more actively involved with the Japanese people and society to gain a deeper understanding about them.


Feeling more comfortable in Japan than in home country?




Wang Chih-hao (from Taiwan)

A second year student at the School of Fundamental Science and Engineering majoring in Computer Science (English-based program), Wang is studying Japanese language at Waseda’s Center for Japanese Language while doing his undergraduate studies in English. He is planning to further his studies in the United States after graduation. His future goal is to work for international organizations where he can utilize his language abilities (i.e. Chinese, English and Japanese).

Even though I am always busy with writing reports, my student life here at Waseda is very rewarding as I get to actively participate in student club activities and do part-time jobs. Mostly importantly, I have made a lot of friends here. When I first came to Japan, I lived in the Waseda International Student House (WISH) at Nakano, where I received a lot of help from the Japanese students. In class, I also have the opportunity to engage in group discussions with local and international students from abroad.

I can only remember one occasion when I felt like going back to Taiwan, and that was when I fell sick. It can be very difficult going to a hospital or clinic in a foreign country, especially when you are by yourself with no family support. Nevertheless, these experiences helped me to grow and improve my Japanese a lot, making me mentally stronger in the process. Now, I even feel like I fit better into the Japanese society than Taiwanese society.

As I want to take part in student exchange programs overseas, I will have to study hard and maintain good grades. At the time, I want to experience as many things as possible while I am still a student here at Waseda.

*This article is based on an interview conducted in 2016.

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