Six students, selected for embodying the spirit of Tohoku University's internationalisation efforts, have been awarded the Global Hagi Scholarship for winter 2017.
The scholarships provide financial support to the students as they prepare to study abroad at Tohoku University's partner institutions around the world.
At the ceremony at Katahira Campus, university president Susumu Satomi spoke of the tremendous international support that the Tohoku region received after the 2011 Earthquake, and encouraged the students to return the kindness by being positive role models.
He added that students should maximize their experiences abroad and develop a more global outlook on life.
The new Global Hagi recipients said that they were excited about going overseas and looking forward to the challenge.
"I want to get a wider perspective on everything, and Europe is perfect because there are many countries with different people and cultures," said Saki Oura, a biochemistry student headed to Germany. "I think Japan needs to learn from other countries to get better. When we think about issues like politics, economics or education, we can only reach the best solution if we know many the different opinions."
"The big economic powers today are in Asia, so I want to stay in the region," said Takagi Yutaro, an economics student going to Vietnam. "The culture of Vietnam is interesting and because it is a developing country, I think the atmosphere will be different too. I'm sure I can learn many new things."
Ayaka Yamaki is also studying economics, and has chosen Switzerland for its multi-cultural flavour. "I want to know more about global marketing. I've also heard that Switzerland is very safe, so I can try new things and be independent. I want to come back more grown up."
For Takahiro Ogasawara, Britain was a natural choice for him to learn English. "I'm going to York University which has a well-known spintronics programme, but I also really want to study English properly, so now I can do both."
The ceremony ended with guest speaker Hinako Yamamoto, a 4th year student who received the Global Hagi Scholarship two years ago. She shared words of support and anecdotes of her time as an exchange student at the National University of Singapore.
"My message to everyone is, don't be afraid. In addition to my course work, I volunteered as a Japanese teacher and had the chance to meet Singaporeans of all ages and backgrounds," she said. "By interacting with many people, I learnt about Singapore's history and culture, and my study abroad life became so much more fulfilling."
The Global Hagi Scholarship is handed out to deserving students twice a year. A total of 139 students have received the award since it was set up in 2010.
Tohoku University Student Exchange Division