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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

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Beyond the Comfort Zone

Juan Rufino Morga Reyes (from Philippines)

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In my seven years with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines), I have come to realize that I need to continuously strive to become better – not just as a person but as a civil servant and an economist. One of the ways I thought of doing to make sure that this realization comes true is by pursuing further studies abroad.

I believe for the most part that studying abroad would broaden my perspective in life and in my career. Having been in my home country most of my life, I craved to see what the outside world looks like so to speak. Questions like “How is it like studying elsewhere?”, “Will I get accepted? and “Will I be able to finish the program?” crossed my mind as I try to think about whether or not I should go ahead and send out my scholarship application with the prestigious Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP). Aside from this, the fact that living in a foreign land for two years without my family and friends was likewise daunting.

Indeed, getting out of my comfort zone can be frightening but it was by far the best decision I have ever made.
Thankfully, I got accepted at The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP). I took it as a positive sign and I immediately recognized that this is my first step in achieving my earnest aspiration of becoming a future leader and expert in the field of economics and public policy. Despite having an undergraduate degree in economics and a post-graduate degree in development policy in the Philippines, I tend to understand various macroeconomic issues conventionally. But with the guidance from renowned professors coupled with an effective curriculum under the Master of Public Policy, International Program (MPP/IP), my conceptual and analytical skills in conducting comprehensive studies in the recent trends and development policies in the global economy was harnessed and I have also gained confidence in assimilating theoretical economics and doing policy research.

GraSPP likewise allowed me to further discover myself. With classmates from different countries and multiple backgrounds, I learned how to get along with them, appreciate cultural diversity, and become a good listener. In terms of living in Japan, I love their food particularly ramen or tsukemen and the four seasons, particularly autumn, since we do not get to experience these back in the Philippines. The people are likewise friendly and helpful, which makes Japan a perfect place to study for international students like me.

When I return to the Philippines, I am eager to apply the learnings I had here to the current and future objectives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. If opportunities arise, I would also like to support and teach students to appreciate and love data science in economic research.