My time at GraSPP has been very inspiring to say the least. I was given the opportunity to study with some of the brightest minds from Asia and beyond a broad range of topics, from implementing new policies in emerging Asia, over understanding the dynamics of international politics in East Asia, to learning about the latest advancements in central banking. Insights were given both in terms of theory and practice by brilliant lecturers who were more often than not in a double role as academics and key policy makers of international organizations and governments. I have greatly benefited from their experience and guidance, and I am convinced that my new knowledge and skills will come in handy in the near future when I enter the working world.
A special highlight during my study has been the GraSPP Policy Challenge which allowed me and my team members to come up with a solution to a real-life policy issue and to present our ideas in London (UK) to representatives of leading public policy schools within the Global Public Policy Network. Another milestone event has been the completion of my thesis in which I quantified and discussed the effects of the Bank of Japan’s ETF purchase program on financial market stability.
Reflecting on the past year, I have felt very much cared for by the faculty, the administration, and my fellow students. I am happy to have been able to expand my professional network with great personalities, most of whom I can call friends. In short, as a double degree student, I am elated to call myself both an alumnus of the Hertie School and the University of Tokyo.
My time outside of academic life is filled with dear memories as well. While in the beginning the language barrier has been a challenge and the end was much influenced by a pandemic, they could only put a negligible dent in my overall excitement of Tokyo and Japan. I travelled to historic Kyoto, had several food comas in and outside of Tokyo, got to see both the traditional as well as many modern sides of contemporary Japan. My favorite part has been probably exploring Tokyo’s nightlife, especially in Roppongi and Shibuya. Unforgettable were also last summer’s festivals (祭り) where streets were packed with people and the air filled with a mixture of a hundred different flavors coming from a myriad of street vendors and the breathtaking firework spectacles. I am not really sad that this journey will come to end soon, because I promise to revisit Japan with my friends and family!