留学生インタビュー

My Education in Japan

I was selected as a Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship student in 1974. I decided to study in Japan because I thought that studying in Japan, where culture and language are completely different from mine, would be the greatest challenge in my life.

I was enrolled in the University of Tokushima's Faculty of Engineering as a student from 1974 to 1977. The professors were very kind to me, and because there were few foreign students at the University of Tokushima at the time, my Japanese language proficiency got improved very much. In fact, the professors in the Tokyo University who interviewed me for the doctoral program were quite impressed by my Japanese language proficiency. I was accepted in 1977 at the University of Tokyo, the most prestigious university in Japan, for my doctoral course.

My most memorable experience as an international student in Japan occurred in August 1979 when I was President of foreign students at Komaba. I was greatly impressed by a newspaper article on Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, and I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister. Several days later Prime Minister Ohira himself visited the Komaba Dormitory. Because I had surveyed the international students and heard about the problems they had while living in Japan, I explained and discussed these points with Prime Minister Ohira. Many improvements resulted from this meeting, including the construction of a family dormitory for international students.

After graduating from the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo, I worked for one year at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Windsor University in Canada as an assistant professor. I then became a research engineer at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia where a research team on transmission lines had been established. During my research there I achieved many findings, and I received awards as Most Accomplished Researcher several times. After 10 years in Saudi Arabia, I learned that the Government of Pakistan was going to establish a state research institute of technology through a grant program of the Japanese Government.

The Pakistani Government was searching for a specialist in the field of electrical engineering and energy who could speak Japanese, had a good understanding of Japan, and was also able to properly manage a research facility. I decided to work at this laboratory so that I could make a contribution to my own country while also returning the favor bestowed upon me by the Government of Japan.

The research institute played a central role in the improvement of the quality of electrical equipment manufactured in Pakistan, and the institute made it possible to greatly conserve foreign currency which, until then, had been being paid out to other countries. The quality improvement of Pakistani electrical equipment also led to the dramatic improvement of the reliability of the country's power supply network resulting in enabling power conservation. Today, 90 percent of Pakistan's electrical power is supplied by parent company, WAPDA. I still work for this laboratory and am making contributions to the manufacture of electrical equipment in Pakistan: I make international presentations of our research, and help nurture the development of human resources in our country as a leader.

I am currently Vice President of MAAP, the Monbukagakusho Alumni Association of Pakistan. Our basic activities include a monthly meeting, a newsletter published every three months, and exchanges with JICA and the Embassy of Japan. We also provide counseling to students who have been selected as Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholars. We also introduced to good doctors Japanese nationals working in Pakistan. In the future, we would like to further our collaboration not only with Pakistani students who have studied in Japan but also with the former students in Japan from other countries. We want to create an environment that will make it easier for Pakistani students to study in Japan.

I have three bits of advice to students who are thinking of studying in Japan: First of all, you had better study Japanese before arriving in Japan. I started to study Japanese only after my arrival in Japan, which cost much of my time in studying Japanese language other than my majors. If I mastered Japanese before arriving in Japan, I think I would have managed to do better.

Secondly, you need to decide your major in advance to arrival. You should make some research at the Embassy of Japan or by the Internet before you go to Japan and find the professor under whom you want to study. This is because it is not only difficult but also rude to your professor in Japan to change your major or your professor.

My final word of advice is that once you are in Japan, you should spare some time to travel around Japan. Do not spend your time just studying. Visit beautiful places in Japan, feel its history, and interact with the Japanese people. It will help you learn more about Japan.

Uploaded on 20th October 2003