The Global Learning Center and Student Exchange Division recently held their biannual information session on Tohoku University's Exchange Programs. The event was aimed at domestic students interested in studying at the university's partner institutions around the world.
Representatives from the GLC outlined the application process and selection criteria, and offered tips on how to approach the required essays.
"It's important that students think carefully about what they want to study, and do some research so that they know exactly why they want to study at that particular university," says Associate Professor Mino Takahashi from the Global Learning Center. "Students should also check the GPA and language requirements before applying."
Information on English language courses as well as scholarships such as the Global Hagi, were also provided at the session.
"This was really helpful. I found out a lot of things that I didn't know," says Masae Taro, a 2nd year engineering student who's interested in applying to KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. "Five years ago, the World Scout Jamboree was held in Sweden. It was my first time abroad and I had such a great experience that I want to go back and get to know the country better."
Not everyone at the event had a plan. Aki Masuda and Hiroki Karyu, 1st year science students, attended the talk just to hear their options. "I'm thinking about the future," says Karyu. "I want to do something different as a university student."
The information session included the chance for one-on-one consultations with GLC staff. Six study abroad returnees were also on hand to share their personal experiences.
Naoki Enomoto, a 4th year Economics student, spent 10 months at the National University of Singapore last year to learn about the South East Asian economy. "My advice to students is to not worry about too many things. Enjoy the cultural differences and make as many friends as possible. That was the most important part of the experience for me."
Enomoto is no stranger to studying abroad, having also been on shorter programmes to Vietnam and the U.S. He says that being abroad not only expanded his views on the world, it also gave him a different perspective of Japan. "Usually Japanese people think they are very good compared to other countries, or that Japanese things are the best. But there are actually many excellent people in other parts of the world. Sometimes Japan is losing, but you won't know it until you go outside."
Shota Abe, an engineering graduate student, was an exchange student in his undergraduate days. Now he volunteers as a Global Campus Supporter, providing mentorship to prospective exchange students. "We answer questions that staff cannot, questions about student life, about problems that students face overseas. We can understand their concerns because we went through the experience ourselves."
This recent information session attracted about a hundred students, a number that continues to rise each year. The Student Exchange Division attributes this growing interest to students and employers recognizing the value of international exposure.
"Students are definitely more mature and more confident when they came back from abroad," says Associate Professor Takahashi. "Many students also have new goals from their exposure to different cultures and lifestyles. I think more and more employers are recognizing that and this gives students better options in the job market."
Anyone interested in being an exchange student is encouraged to visit the GLC for more information or meet with their faculty advisors to discuss subject-specific opportunities. The link below also offers helpful basic information.
Contact:Student Exchange Division
Tel: +81 22-795-7820