I came to Japan to learn about Japan’s world-class technology.

I first became interested in Japan when I was a first-year university student. My interest was sparked by the Japanese animation and dramas I watched in China. I felt that Japan and China had some similarities, but there were also many differences between the two countries. I was curious about what Japan was like and my interest in the country gradually grew stronger.
The end of my third year of university was a major turning point in my life. The university I was attending in China had an academic exchange agreement with Tohoku University and I had a chance to go to Japan as a foreign exchange student. My major in university was Materials Engineering. Japan has attained the world’s highest standards in the field of materials engineering technology so I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by, and I decided to apply. Then, in my fourth year of university, I went to Japan as an exchange student to study for a year at Tohoku University.
After graduating from university, I studied at a graduate school at the University of Tokyo and focused my research on fuel cells. Fuel cells, which are highly efficient and environmentally friendly power-generating systems that produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, have the potential to solve global energy problems. The reason I chose to conduct research on fuel cells is that I wanted to contribute to the development of this leading-edge technology.

The scholarship provided the support I needed to fully devote myself to my research.

When I first started studying at Tohoku University, my original plan was to go to the U.S. for graduate school. But as I became familiar with the high research standards and the kind and wonderful character of the Japanese people, in the end I decided to pursue my research in Japan.
I studied at Tohoku University on the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) scholarship, and at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School on the government-sponsored foreign student scholarship program offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. I’m extremely grateful for the scholarships which have provided me with a foundation to focus on my research for three years.
There are a total of 15 students enrolled at the Graduate School’s research lab. Half the students are Japanese and the other half are foreign students. Every week, all the students present their research findings or progress reports which everyone takes seriously. Like everyone else, I fully devote myself to my research.

Developing not only my technical skills, but eagerly learning the language and culture.

At first, the foreign students in the research lab I belong to did their presentations in English, so the language barrier didn’t affect my studies. Even so, in the world outside my studies, being able to communicate in Japanese is definitely a necessity. At first, I spoke in English with the Japanese students in my research lab, but now I try to speak in Japanese as much as possible so I can improve my language skills. Whenever I use a word incorrectly, they immediately correct me, and this has helped me a great deal. Thanks to their help, in two years I have learned to function in my day-to-day life without any problems.
Meeting foreign students from other countries has also been a valuable experience for me. I belong to a club that promotes international exchange with members of various nationalities including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American and European.
Another thing I learned about is Japanese customs. For instance, using datebooks; the Japanese students always carry around a datebook to keep track of their schedule. Anytime a new plan comes up they’ll immediately write it down in their book, and they’ll also write any advice or striking comments made by their instructors. I never used a datebook in China, but I found this custom useful and I’ve started using one. Keeping track of the details of my schedule allows me to use my time more efficiently, and now I carry my datebook around wherever I go. In this way, I try to incorporate any Japanese customs that I find useful into my daily life.

It’s important to set a goal for the future and make steps toward achieving it.

After graduating from university, I plan to work as a design engineer for a major Japanese electronics manufacturer. The reason I chose this company is that I use their products and I think their products are highly sophisticated in design and function. This company also hires a lot of foreigners and I found it appealing to work in an international environment; I was also drawn to the company’s free-spirited corporate culture. After entering the company, I’ll put the knowledge I’ve acquired up to now to good use and contribute as an engineer to the growth of the company. This is my present goal.
At the same time, I want to develop my skills through my work to open up opportunities in the future to play an active role not only in Japan and China but around the world.
As a foreign student in Japan, I think it’s important to set a goal for the future and work continuously toward achieving it. By making steady progress toward achieving present goals, I believe you will eventually reach your ultimate goal. I also plan to stay focused on my goals and endeavors as I devote myself to my work.