留学生インタビュー

Why did you decide to study in Japan?

When I was in high School, my sister gave me a music tape of Japanese songs as a gift from Japan. I often listened to those songs and hummed to myself. When I was about to enter a university, I chose Asian Studies as my major as it would offer me Japanese Language courses. At my major, I studied histories and cultures of various countries, but I came to deepen my original interests in Japan's history, culture and its language. After graduating from the university, I studied at a 1-year intensive course at a Japanese language school, from which I obtained a scholarship. I was able to experience what I had learned in the university.

How was your study at the Japanese-language institute?

The teachers took care of us very well. They kindly assisted us in writing recommendation letters to university, and correcting Japanese of my research proposals which I submitted to the university. They didn't only help us on issues concerning our studies or choosing the universities, but also provided consultations about various problems tackled by students. It was my first time to learn math and history in Japanese then. Although I had majored in Asian Studies in the university, history vocabularies of the Japanese textbooks were different. Even though I felt a bit at a loss, I toiled on my study by checking with English textbooks. Although 7 years have passed since I came to Japan, I could say that my student life back in the Japanese language institute was the most enjoyable. It is because I made many good friends from different countries in the dormitory of the institute. We had cooking sessions, talked about our countries, and thus deepened our intercultural understanding.

How are you spending your days as a student in Japan?

During my Masters Program, I had 3-4 classes a week, as it was a requirement to obtain 30 class units. Since there were a small number of courses designed for foreign students, I had to have my classes, reports and presentations in Japanese, and it was really tough. But at the Doctoral Program, there are neither classes nor class unit requirements because I am responsible for my own research studies. We have joint seminars held once a month wherein I present the progress of my research. For my master's thesis, from the viewpoint of Development Anthropology, I made a case study of Calabarzon region particularly of Talim Island on Lake Laguna in the Philippines in order to examine the island residents' reaction to the ongoing development program for their island, and to evaluate the feasibility and suitability of the plans and to give recommendation towards "people centered development." For my Doctoral Program, I am continuing my case study on Calabarzon area as well as doing a comparative study of the development project of the communities near Lake Biwa in Shiga-Ken which has similar settings to Lake Laguna. I also plan to research on development anthropology's theory and methodology, including gender study, and write papers for publication for refereed journal.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Even if you feel worried about life as a foreign student, I believe it's best if you hold on to your dreams and do whatever it takes to make them come true. Although Japanese language is difficult, don't make it a barrier, but work hard and acquire good experiences through studying in Japan.

Uploaded on 26th March 2003