From a lunch break conversation to global leadership: How I found my path to GraSPP
It was another typical day at work, and Jakarta’s heat was as scorching as ever. My colleague and I were discussing our future plans to continue our studies on our lunch break. We both felt that as civil servants, we needed to expand our knowledge and skills in public policy. We talked about the complexities of policies and the challenges of working with multiple stakeholders to formulate them. As we began researching the top schools in the field, I stumbled upon the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. Out of curiosity, I searched for more information about GraSPP, and I was immediately captivated by the program’s extensive and diverse courses taught in English. The MPP/IP program seemed perfect for someone like me who aspired to be a globally competitive public policy practitioner equipped with professional knowledge and practical capacities. It wasn’t just the courses and professors that caught my attention, but the program’s structure, which seemed accommodating for professionals who hadn’t been in academia for quite some time. The faculty, facilitation, and support for international students were all additional factors that impressed me.
I was convinced that this program would not only help me expand my knowledge but also accelerate my career as a civil servant in Indonesia. As I prepared my application, I felt excited about learning everything I needed to excel – from theories and best practices to case studies – and building valuable networks with students worldwide.
With a sense of excitement and determination, I enrolled in GraSPP’s Public Management and International Relations (PMIR) track. The journey that started as a simple lunch break conversation with my colleague led me to an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in public policy and work towards becoming a global leader equipped to tackle public policy challenges.
Memorable experiences at GraSPP: From GraSPP Policy Challenges to enriching conversations in the student lounge
It’s hard to pick just one memorable experience or course from my time at GraSPP, as I have found all my experiences here incredibly valuable. As a student who started in 2021, I have had the opportunity to participate in both fully online and in-person classes. Even though there was a distance between me and my professors and classmates during the online classes, the quality of education and support from the faculty office was just as good as in-person classes. However, one experience that stands out for me is the GraSPP Policy Challenge (GPPN Conference) – this year in Brazil – which I had been looking forward to since exploring all the courses listed at GraSPP. This course allowed us to work on real-life policy challenges and if selected, present our proposed solutions in front of the Dean of prestigious public policy schools in the Global Public Policy Network. This was truly a remarkable experience that gave me the chance to apply what I had learned in class and connect with other policy students from around the world.
Another memorable experience at GraSPP was anything that happens in the student lounge, which served as a great place to interact with other students. I was amazed at how a casual conversation about travel during Golden Week could turn into a discussion about policy challenges in our respective countries and exchanging ideas. Spending countless hours in the student lounge talking with other students and getting their perspectives on global and local challenges was truly an enriching experience. I learned a lot from these conversations, not just about policy, but also about different cultures, perspectives, and experiences.
The benefits of studying in Japan: A complete package for personal growth and development
If you are considering studying in Japan, it is likely that you have come across many articles and resources touting the benefits of pursuing your education in this fascinating country. I can attest that these articles are not exaggerating. Having lived in Japan for over a year, I believe that studying in Japan offers a complete package. One of the most significant advantages is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich, diverse culture that is steeped in history and tradition. Whether you are interested in exploring the latest trends in fashion and pop culture, or you want to delve deeper into the traditional arts and customs of Japan, there is no shortage of experiences to be had.
Another major advantage of studying in Japan is the access to top-notch universities that are at the forefront of research and technology. Additionally, the quality of education is exceptional, with highly qualified professors and rigorous academic programs that challenge students to think critically and creatively. Beyond the academic benefits, Japan is also known for its excellent public transportation system, which makes it easy and affordable to explore different parts of the country. Whether you are interested in visiting bustling cities like Tokyo and Osaka, or you want to experience the natural beauty of Japan’s many parks and mountains, there is something for everyone.
As a student in Japan, you will also have access to various social benefits as a resident, including affordable healthcare and access to other public services. Japan is also known for its exceptionally high standards of safety and cleanliness, which can provide a great deal of peace of mind for students and their families. Moreover, the cost of tuition in Japan is relatively affordable. With the availability of scholarships and other financial aid options, studying in Japan can be a very cost-effective choice for many students.
Perhaps the most important benefit of studying in Japan, however, is the opportunity for personal growth and development. By living and studying in a new culture, you will be challenged to expand your horizons, learn new things, and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. Whether you are interested in learning a new language, discovering new hobbies, or simply exploring a new way of life, studying in Japan can be an incredibly enriching experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
From an Indonesian civil servant to a full-time student
Being a civil servant before starting my studies at GraSPP has definitely had an impact on my school life. I was already familiar with the inner workings of the government and had experienced some of the policy challenges that we were discussing in class. This background has been a valuable asset in my academic journey as it enabled me to offer a unique perspective to class discussions. For example, when we discussed the policy-making process in the Policy Process and Negotiation course, I was able to share my experience on how it worked in practice in the Indonesian government. This helped to bring more depth and nuance to the discussion and also allowed my classmates to learn from my experiences.
On the other hand, transitioning from a full-time job to a full-time student was not easy. I had to adjust to a new routine and way of life. Time management became a challenge, as I had to balance my school work with my personal life, while also adjusting to a new environment and culture. Additionally, the academic demands at GraSPP were much higher than what I was used to, and it took some time to get used to the rigorous curriculum.
Being a GraSPP student truly has had a profound impact on my life in many ways. Pursuing my master’s degree at GraSPP has been a transformative experience that has expanded my horizons, challenged my assumptions, and helped me grow both personally and professionally. The supportive and welcoming community at GraSPP has also made my time here truly special. From the knowledgeable and passionate professors to the dedicated and friendly staff, everyone at GraSPP has been committed to helping me succeed and has created a warm and inclusive environment that has made me feel like I belong.
GraSPP has been much more than just a degree program to me; it has been a life-changing experience that has shaped who I am today and given me the tools and confidence to pursue my dreams and positively impact the world.
Tips for prospective students
I would love to share some advice and comments for prospective students who are considering joining GraSPP. First and foremost, I encourage you to thoroughly research the program and its courses, and make sure it aligns with your academic and career goals. GraSPP offers a diverse range of courses, so take the time to identify the ones that interest you the most and make sure to attend the information sessions to learn more. Also, consider reaching out to current students or alumni for their insights and experiences. Reading articles from GraSPPers Voice could be one of them!
Secondly, keep in mind that GraSPP is a challenging program, so it’s important to be prepared to put in the hard work and dedication required to succeed. However, it’s also a very rewarding program that will equip you with valuable skills and knowledge for your future career in the public policy area.
Lastly, I would say that GraSPP is not just about academic learning, it’s also about personal growth and development. Take advantage of the various activities and events that are available, such as attending guest lectures or participating in GraSPP Student Council’s events. These experiences will help you build relationships and expand your network, which can be invaluable in your future career. So, be open-minded, stay curious, and enjoy the journey!