I have studied at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY SPP) from August to December 2015 through the exchange program between GraSPP and LKY SPP. According to the Dean Kishore Mahbubani, the school itself is relatively small but “the strong, diverse and research-active faculty is a major asset.” 80% of the total consist of international students all over the world and this diverse environment provides unique networking possibilities. Their goal is to educate and inspire current and future generations of leaders to raise the standards of governance in Asia, bringing together the best of the East and the best of the West.
I spent one semester there and took three modules: Comparative Case Studies, Soft Power in the Asia-Pacific and Principles of Economics. Two former modules are three-hour sessions and we struggled with readings (about 200 pages) every week. One session is composed of (1) lecture by the professor, (2) presentation by classmates, and (3) group discussions. The latter economic module consists of the three-hour lecture and the one-hour tutorial session for problem solving. Furthermore, pre- and post- lecture quizzes are to be done every week.
One of the major challenge was “discussions,” in other words, how to show them my understandings and opinions of reading materials. Although it took some time to get used to the lecture style but by the end of the semester, I came to be able to stand up and make statements dignifiedly in front of the class. Professors and classmates were all enthusiastic and supportive, it inspired me a lot. I felt that each class was more organized and perfectly managed than those at universities in Japan.
I met wonderful people from all over the world, especially, my housemates from India, the United States and Switzerland. Studying together, travelling together and having a birthday party, we shared joys and sorrows with each other. Although we sometimes faced hard things through a new life in a different environment, we learned a lot and got matured through experience.
Finally, I truly appreciate every experience at LKY SPP and all the support from University of Tokyo, my family and friends. This valuable experience will definitely be beneficial and helpful to my future career.