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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

GraSPP- A Gateway to endless opportunities

Zaw Myo Kyaw (from Myanmar)

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What was your purpose in enrolling in GraSPP?

Enrolling in the Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP) was a decision motivated by a multifaceted purpose, rooted in past personal experiences. Having previously visited Japan as an exchange student during my undergraduate studies, the country had become a desired destination for further academic pursuit. With a professional background in human resources development and educational reform, particularly within the vocational sector, I instilled a keen interest in comprehending the intricacies of public policy formulation. My aim was to enhance my understanding of the underlying mechanisms shaping policy agendas and their implications for societal welfare, specifically seeking to discern why certain policies in my native country often fell short of serving the populace optimally. In my search for a graduate school aligning with my curiosity and expectations, GraSPP emerged as the ideal choice, facilitated by the ADB-JSP program’s provision of a full scholarship to pursue my aspirations.

What is attractive about GraSPP?

The allure of GraSPP extended beyond its academic rigor to encompass its diverse student body and captivating campus, which held its allure throughout all seasons. Contrary to initial expectations of a predominantly Japanese demographic, I found myself amidst a diverse cohort of nationalities, fostering an intellectually enriching and international environment. Moreover, the curriculum’s breadth, spanning fundamental courses such as economics, international politics, diplomacy, and governance, along with cross-cutting issues like global climate change, gender, and development, promised a comprehensive understanding of contemporary policy challenges.

The extensive network and connections facilitated by GraSPP were particularly inspiring and invaluable. These connections not only provided avenues for internships with international organizations (IOs), such as the Asian Development Bank Institute where I completed my internship, but also offered opportunities to work on real-world pressing issues under the guidance of practitioners and professors. Additionally, GraSPP’s extensive activities enabled me to engage with global leaders and young talents through forums and conferences. These experiences, including the opportunity to publish my writings and works during my internship, laid a solid foundation for my future career and academic pursuits.

Please share your memorable experiences/courses in GraSPP

Participating in the Global Policy Challenges program stands out as one of my most memorable experiences at GraSPP. Collaborating with a close friend on a project addressing climate change adaptation proved both rewarding and memorable. The camaraderie and dedication within our team propelled us to the final round of competition, culminating in the presentation of our work at the Global Public Policy Network(GPPN) Annual Conference at Sciences Po in France. This experience not only bolstered my academic acumen but also exposed me to diverse perspectives on mitigating global challenges. Courses such as Asian Economic Development and Integration also provided academic challenges, while working on research papers with supervisors from the Asian Development Bank Institute honed my research and analytical skills.

What is the advantage of studying in Japan?

Studying in Japan conferred distinct advantages, both academically and experientially. As a nation occupying a pivotal role in Asian geopolitics and economic relations, Japan provided an invaluable vantage point for understanding regional dynamics. Hailing from the ASEAN community, Myanmar, I was particularly attuned to Japan’s diplomatic and economic engagement in the region, offering insights into evolving geopolitical landscapes. Additionally, witnessing Japan’s development firsthand was both enlightening and inspiring. Beyond the academic realm, the safety, cleanliness, and convenience of life in Japan contributed to a truly enjoyable experience. And let’s not overlook the food—convenient yet healthy, a true reflection of Japanese culture.

What has GraSPP meant to your life?

As I navigate through the bustling campus, with students rushing individually or in groups, I am reminded of the gratitude I feel for the opportunity to be immersed in such an intellectually stimulating environment. GraSPP has been more than just a graduate school; it has served as a gateway to endless opportunities. The academic prestige, coupled with the supportive academic office, has helped me navigate the challenges of being a foreign student in Japan. GraSPP has served as a stepping stone in enhancing my career to an international level, despite my disadvantaged background. GraSPP will always hold a special place in my heart as the institution that profoundly changed and enriched my life.

Advice or comments for the latent students

To future students embarking on this journey, my advice is simple: embrace every opportunity outside the classroom. It’s where lifelong friendships are forged, networks are built, and personal growth flourishes. GraSPP has a knack for exceeding expectations and propelling individuals to new heights of development, both personally and professionally.