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.
Broadening perspectives and finding new values
SOMERSET, Daniel from Israel
Undergraduate student at the School of Political Science and Economics
From the point of view of cultural exposure, there is not much known about Japan in my home country of Israel, so the land of the rising sun was always an enigma for me to discover and explore. My choice for Waseda University was based on many factors, most important of which would be academic excellence, connectivity of university with private and public sectors, reputation, Waseda spirit and organizational culture.
My major in Waseda is Economics. But since I am doing a double degree program at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, my major there is Political Science and International Relations.
One thing that I had difficulty understanding with regard to Japanese culture is a tendency for unanimity and conformity with the majority. Being brought up in an individualistic culture, I found it diverging from my background and intrinsic values. But process of adaptation and comprehension definitely helped me broaden my perspectives and find values in this tendency.
My short-term goal is to go to a consulting industry which resonates with my skills that I have learned in Waseda. But my long-term objective is to create a positive impact in my home country and possibly in the world and that will require going into politics. So my long-term goal is to become a Member of Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and subsequently take position in the government.
Encouraging young students to pursue research projects while continuing her own
ZAMORA, Irene from El Salvador
Doctoral student at the Graduate School of Economics
Before I became a graduate student, I worked as a research analyst in the Ministry of Economy in my home country. El Salvador is very small, has tropical weather and a relaxed atmosphere. People in El Salvador are warmhearted and friendly. Nevertheless, Salvadorans are hardworking, like Japanese people, in order to overcome economic hardship.
As a public servant, I came to Japan for a workshop sponsored by JICA. I felt warmly welcomed by all the Japanese people we met during the workshop. I immediately felt a connection with the country and wanted to return to Japan.
I believe that Waseda University’s main attractiveness is its diversity among the student body and the constant expansion of this diversity. We can interact with students with diverse backgrounds from all over the world. Additionally, what attracted me to Waseda University is its research facilities and research support provided to the students who wish to conduct research.
My research is in the human resource management field within the social policy research area. In the future, I would like to be able to encourage and guide young students to pursue research projects at any stage of their tertiary education in order to seek and contribute to knowledge. Moreover, I would like to continue pursuing research projects as an academic researcher and professor after completing my doctoral studies.
Foreign language education for a happily aging society
MATSUMOTO, Dorota from Slovakia
Doctoral student at the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences
After graduating from the Japanese Studies Department at Charles University in Prague, I got married and came to Japan. I had interest in the English language education here, so I went to graduate school and obtained my teaching license. As I taught English at the high school level for 11 years, I became gradually interested in the psychology behind people learning a foreign language, and decided to apply to Waseda University’s graduate program. My friend from Prague had studied abroad at Waseda, so I felt a sense of connection here, and thought that I would be able to do the kind of research I was hoping to do at such institution rich in tradition and history. Currently, I am conducting research on the positive effects of foreign language education on lifelong learning while teaching in Kyoto.
The most memorable moment here was when I accompanied the President of Slovakia as an interpreter to the State Guest House at the Kyoto Imperial Palace. I had always been amazed by the service and mindfulness in Japan, but I was moved by the finest acts of omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) I had experienced at this time.
In Japan where there is such wonderful culture, my goal is to share the fun in studying a foreign language throughout life. In the long run, I hope to contribute to the “happily” aging society, where everyone is enjoying life no matter how old they are through foreign language education.
*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.