Purpose of enrolling in GraSPP
I hoped to join a rigorous and international school outside of my home country, and a professor I interned under at the time who also taught at GraSPP recommended the program. It was probably the best decision I made in my adult life.
Attractive/stimulating points about the school
I would point out its international environment, the variety of classes available within and beyond the scope of public policy, the calibre of instructors, opportunities to attend events where I could see firsthand what policymakers are thinking, and finally, reasonable costs.
One aspect about GraSPP I didn’t realize until I graduated was its ideal size. Too many graduate programs are oversized, meaning the alumni network isn’t effective, and graduates may be seen as just another graduate of said program. Yet GraSPP has name value and is large enough to accommodate various student needs, post-graduation careers, and a robust network of alumni who are actually interested in your story.
What I have gained from my student life
One serendipity was the internships available through GraSPP. I did not expect there to be such attractive options, and the internships I took on undoubtedly boosted my career. My school life at GraSPP certainly affected my career — most importantly, I was able to hone in on what I wanted to do, which is not an easy task.
Many international alumni tend to stay in Japan, including me. For better or for worse, the labor market greatly favors international professionals. Even if you have never lived in Japan, it’s arguably one of the most fun, safe, affordable, and interesting countries in the world!
GraSPP has become a small part of my identity. If it weren’t for GraSPP, I may not be living in Japan, and I certainly would not be in my current career trajectory, nor enjoying holidays with my friends who shared the same graduate school experience. I’m still very close to the friends I made at GraSPP — we continue to support, congratulate, and motivate each other, and are probably my most cherished keepsake from my time as a graduate student.
Message to prospective students
Take a wide variety of courses, meet as many people as you can, and keep an open mind about everything! GraSPP is what you make of it. If you’re doing it right, your time at GraSPP will zoom right past you, so savor every moment.