In 2013, there was a turning point in my life—from an official in a developing country, Cambodia, I became a student anew in a developed country whose people are considered self-disciplined and highly moral citizens. Living in Tokyo was not so easy for me in the early stages, as I needed to adapt to a new environment that had a markedly different lifestyle from the one I knew. However, I received tremendous support from my friends, my professors, staff of GraSPP, and IMF staff. In the first year, I did not achieve my desired results as I struggled in adapting to my new way of life, dealing with the difficulty of the courses, and catching up with some of my smart classmates who were among the most brilliant students of Japan—although I also gallivanted around a lot. The University of Tokyo is one of the most prestigious universities; thus, if you want to have good results, never underestimate your course program or your classmates. For the first-year students, not only do you need to study smart, but you also need to study hard. It would be wise not to stress out but to spare some time to cultivate beautiful friendships with those who would positively encourage you during hard times.
In my second year, I reaffirmed my commitment to achieving my desired results. Frankly speaking, it was partly inspired by Japanese history, which I learned through my travels in Japan, and the stories of the Samurai—the brave soldiers who would never surrender. In this regard, I made a strict study timetable by reducing my idle time while having appropriate leisure time. However, in order to deal with the hard slog, I promised myself a lengthy tour of Japan after I completed all my required courses. Nothing is impossible as long as we are willing to make the effort. Eventually, I managed to finish my research and the second-year courses with better results than what I expected.
Fortunately, after coming back to my beloved homeland, I was assigned to a task related to international cooperation among ASEAN+3 nations, which provided me some opportunities to attend meetings in Japan. Every time I visited Japan, I always found time to meet some of my friends who had helped me during the time I was there. Time may pass, but memories will last. I cannot forget all the kindness that I gratefully received during my time in Japan.