In the 2017 academic year, there were more than 7,000 international students hailing from 120 different countries and regions studying at Waseda, making the University the most internationalized in terms of the number of international students. Why do international students choose Waseda? In this five-part series, 18 students from around the world share why.
Coming back to Japan after rewarding exchange program experience
UMER, Hamza from Pakistan
Doctoral student at the Graduate School of Economics
While enrolled in the undergraduate program in Pakistan, I was lucky enough to attend the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda as an exchange student. During the exchange program, I spent significant time studying various elements of the Japanese economy, the evolution of the automobile industry, and Japanese culture and work ethics, and made exceptional friends. The exchange program helped me get an “inside view” of Japan. The memorable, challenging, empowering and rewarding experience of the exchange program motivated me to come back to Japan.
Being a student at Waseda’s Graduate School of Economics appeared to me the most suitable graduate school for higher education because it offered degree programs in English. The coursework was demanding, and the research opportunities were immense. I was driven by all these factors to come back again to Waseda for my Master’s and Doctoral degrees.
Recently, I went to Osaka to teach English at a high school and stayed with a Japanese host family for five days. The home stay was a very valuable experience, as I got an opportunity to see the true life of a typical Japanese family, and learned about the Japanese old traditions, family values, religious beliefs and their work life. The host mother treated me like her own son. The link developed with the host family is perhaps the most precious one I have had so far in Japan. My host family keeps me updated about their activities, and I do as well. They are planning to visit my home country to participate in my elder brother’s wedding this year in October. I am looking forward to hosting them in my home country.
Aspiring to work for an international organization for children and women
CHODEN, Sonam from Bhutan
Undergraduate student at the School of International Liberal Studies
When I moved to Qatar because of my dad’s job, I went to an international school during both middle school and high school. Because I grew up in a racially and culturally diverse environment, I wanted to continue my studies in a similar atmosphere. Waseda, my faculty in particular, is made up of such environment. Although I live in Japan, as soon as I am on campus, I feel like I am in a different country every time through my interaction with students from all around the world. I do not think any other university in Japan is this diverse as Waseda.
I feel like I am surrounded by many future leaders here. In a diverse and intellectual community, never have I seen so many people working straight towards their dreams, trying to make a name for themselves in the world. This motivates me to do something big in life as well.
I feel that Waseda has prepared me to work on an international platform, and I want to get my Master’s degree first and then eventually work for an international organization like UNICEF or UN Women or any NGO that works with children and women. Studying at Waseda has taught me how it feels to be empowered through diverse and liberal education, and I want to help others have the same opportunity as I did. In the future, after I finish working at such organizations, I want to become a professor so I can also teach the younger generation what I have learned.
Dream to make Guatemala stronger against earthquakes
BRITO VELASCO, Miguel Benjamin from Guatemala
Graduate student at the Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering (Now a doctoral student as of November 2018)
Since Japan is a seismic prone country, there have been many developments in this field over decades. The good response of bridge and buildings against earthquakes is well seen overseas. Other countries, such as Guatemala, are also trying to learn from what Japan has developed to promote safer cities under future disasters. I heard about Waseda many years ago, and I also knew about what research topics were being conducted in my department. After collecting some information from previous papers of my professor, I decided to join Waseda University.
I am part of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and my major is concrete structures. I focus on developing a novel methodology for designing concrete bridges that can resist strong earthquakes without suffering damages, keeping its functionality after big disasters. Bridges are quite important for both evacuating and providing medical aid, and this improvement would allow a rapid recovery of transportation systems following any disaster.
After obtaining a doctoral degree, I would like to work in Japan for about a year to learn more about Japanese companies, and I want contribute to the engineering community for making a safer place against earthquakes and go back to my country to start different projects I have in mind. In the future, I dream to make my country stronger and more powerful. I would also like to share my knowledge as a professor with students in Guatemala.
Contributions of Japanese scientists in theoretical physics
DELFAN AZARI, Milad from Iran
Doctoral student at the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering
I have heard about Japan since my childhood by watching Japanese cartoons and anime like “Captain Tsubasa” and “Mito Komon.” Besides that, I heard and read a lot about the country due to my interest in its history and culture. I had a very good impression of Japan and really wanted to visit Japan.
When I was an undergraduate student, I learned about the great contributions of Japanese scientists in my field of study, which is theoretical physics. Professor Makoto Kobayashi and Professor Toshihide Maskawa winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008 made me decide to pursue my higher education in Japan.
When I was searching for possible places of study, I learned that Waseda University is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan with a good reputation, and the courses are offered in English. After that, I found a research group whose research topics were interesting to me. The papers they published made want to join them. Currently, I study theoretical astrophysics, and the main focus of my study is physics of supernova, neutrinos, and the compact binary coalescence.
As I want to be a researcher, I hope to work as a research associate to gain the necessary knowledge after completing my PhD and prepare well for taking a university position as a researcher or a professor in the future.
*The original article was published in Japanese in the August 2018 edition (No. 1230) of Waseda Gakuho, a bi-monthly magazine for alumni. All information is current as of the date of publication. This English version has been edited for clarity and length.