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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

GraSPPers Voice

Rewarding experiences at SNU

Sara Shibata (from Japan)

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Having a background in psychology and sociology in undergraduate studies, I became passionate about studying Northeast Asian relations after participating in  China-Japan-South Korea-related student conferences as extra-curricular activities a number of times.

With my wish of majoring in Northeast Asian relations coming true, I entered GraSPP as a CAMPUS Asia student in September 2020, during the midst of COVID-19. Despite the experience being almost all online, I had the honor to spend a semester in Seoul, South Korea for the fall semester of 2022. The experience was especially rewarding, as it was my first semester to spend a face-to-face semester on campus, including my semesters at the University of Tokyo, and Peking University. 

Academics at SNU

I focused on taking classes that would allow me to learn about South Korea/ Japan from the South Korean perspective, as I had been able to take classes on Japan and China both at Peking University and the University of Tokyo. As a result, I took classes on South Korean history, Japanese society and culture, and International Law. (And of course, the Campus Asia funded Korean language classes)

I genuinely enjoyed studying at SNU, as extensive support was guaranteed to students- however, the class I enjoyed the most was the class on Japanese society and culture.
Coming from Japan, I originally thought that there would be a lot of familiar material taught in the class. However, the class provided me with new insights into social issues/social structures of Japan that I had never taken into account.

I was especially surprised learning about the politically “Ultra-right” group in Japan, and new research which was conducted to study this particular group.

Extra-curricular activities at SNU

At a meeting at GALF

 I also had the honor to join an extra-curricular group called “GALF” (Global Asian Leadership Forum). Here, many students (including undergraduate and graduate students) coming from different universities in Seoul would gather and discuss various issues/topics concerning the Asian region.

The best part of participating in this organization was the fact that I was able to build connections/friendships with people outside of my home university.  I have continued relationships with them even after I returned to Japan.