“Resuming my journey in Japan” was the first Facebook post I wrote upon arrival in Tokyo early April 2016, and this sentence could be both my opening and closing remark for my experiences in Japan. I have been in a high school student short-term exchange program at Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, in summer 2008, and Waseda Winter School in 2015. Ever since, I have been dreaming of coming back to Japan and resume the fantastic cultural exploration and academic education. My dream came true this year, thanks to Campus Asia Program’s generous scholarship and assistance. After almost five months in Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo, I make up my mind now that I will resume my journey in Japan somehow in the future.
My motivation of applying to Campus Asia Program was more than seeking for fun experiences, and it mainly resided in my long term career. I aspire to work in academia on Chinese diplomacy and international relations in East Asia, so Campus Asia Program is meant to be a perfect opportunity for me to “soap and poke” in the authentic Eastern Asian social context. Furthermore, the academic and curriculum quality in Todai is also prestigious, and attractive to me.
Once I got registered in GraSPP, Todai, my impressive journey of Japan officially set out! First of all, the diversity of curriculum in GraSPP was so amazing to me that I registered or audited two classes in English and three in Japanese. As a Chinese student studying Japanese, to immerse in an authentic Japanese academic environment was a rare opportunity. The class of Contemporary Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy gave me lots of encouragement and inspiration. The class of American Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics also provided a special Japanese perspective. Second, I really enjoyed the Summer School organized for Campus Asia students, where students of diverse backgrounds exchanged ideas on topics of international politics in East Asia. The Summer school was surely quality and fun time I spent at GraSPP, and the fellow students’ brilliant ideas meant a lot to me. Third, living in Mitaka dorm and joining the Todai International Center Language Exchange Program provided me firm support and assistance in studying Japanese language. All the dorm friends and Yora Keiko, my language partner, patiently answered to my questions about listening and grammar problems, and dialogues with them aided me enormously in improving my speaking skill . All of the help was integral for me to pass the JLPT N1 test in July at 146 out of 180 points.p>
The last but most exciting part of my life in GraSPP was the trips I took around Japan. The Summer School consisted of an overnight field trip to Nagasaki. Other than the field trip, I also traveled to Kyoto, Nara, Hikone, Osaka, Kamakura, Kawagoe, Nikko, and I marveled at the historical, cultural and natural heritages that Japan possesses at each trip. I have been passionate in seeking for those historical sites and revisiting the rich history of Japan, and all the UNESCO world heritages in Kyoto, Nara, Hikone and other places left an awesome impression on me. Japan absolutely has infinite surprises and mysteries in store for me.
I am already nostalgic of every moment in GraSPP even if I just left, and I owe my gratitude to Campus Asia Program and all the staff, professors and donors devoted to making Campus Asia Program an extraordinary exchange program. I am all satisfied with my life and education in Campus Asia Program, so I can’t really give advice only for the sake of giving advice. I just believe that Campus Asia Program will maintain its quality and momentum, and even transcend itself. I encourage the incoming Campus Asia Program participants to have an open mind and embrace their experiences in Tokyo. A motto that should be passed on to the following generations of participants is as follows: Campus Asia Program and life in Tokyo would only raise the your expectation of studying abroad even higher!