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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2014)

SPECIAL REPORT

Internationalization at Waseda

Waseda University was the first Japanese university to promote internationalization and produce outstanding talents who will perform well globally.
Promotion of internationalization at Waseda was spurred by selection to the MEXT's Program for Development of Internationalization Bases (Global 30) from the 2008 to 2013 academic years. Our university has greatly increased the number of courses in which a degree can be obtained through English classes only. We have also developed our system for accepting foreign students and promoted strategic international partnerships. This article discusses the results of internationalization at Waseda University, as well as the future outlook.

Roundtable discussion with students

The meaning of studying at Waseda

What aspects of Waseda captured the hearts of foreign students? What effect do foreign students have on Japanese students? We discussed these topics with 3 students.

Participants in the roundtable discussion (starting from left in photograph)
スタピット・シレー (from Nepal)
3rd-Year Student, English-based Course, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Creative science and Engineering

シェ・イーシュエン (from Taiwan)
3rd-Year Student, English-based Degree Program, School of Political Sciences and Economics

Mizuki Tomida (from Niigata Prefecture, Japan)
4th-Year Student, School of International Liberal Studies

――Why did you decided to enroll at Waseda?

Tomida I did a 1-year home-stay abroad when I was in high school. At that time, I felt the importance of acquiring proficiency in a foreign language and gaining an understanding of Japan. Personally, I always try to stay aware of global information, and I decided to enroll at Waseda because I wanted to study together with other globally-oriented students.

シェ Although my friends enrolled at Taiwanese universities, I decided to study abroad because I wanted to experience a different lifestyle. After struggling to decide between Japan and Hong Kong, I decided to enroll at Waseda in order to pursue my interest in political science and economics.

シレー My decision to enroll in Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was influenced by my father, a civil engineer. Also, I was motivated by first-hand experience regarding the importance of civil engineering. In Nepal, I have witnessed regions which have little prospects for future growth due to a lack of roads and transportation methods.

――Please discuss the appealing points of the school where you are enrolled.

Tomida Liberal arts education in the SILS program makes it possible to take courses in a variety of fields and gradually refine one's area of interest. Prior to studying abroad, my studies focused on comparative economics. I enjoyed the many courses which made me consider Japan as viewed from the rest of the world and the rest of the world as viewed from Japan.

シェ Knowledge of both politics and economics is necessary in order to understand society. In Taiwan, undergraduate schools are divided into politics and economics. However, Waseda offers the opportunity to study both fields. According to my interests, I was able to select required themes from courses with a variety of themes.

シレー Classes in English-based science and engineering programs are conducted in small groups, thus enabling the instructors to give individual attention to students. Instructors are aware of even the smallest details and provide advice to each student. Understanding between the instructor and students facilitates studying, and I enjoy the opportunity to form a close relationship with my instructors.

――Has there ever been a moment when you felt the advancement of internationalization?

Tomida I spent 1 year as an exchange student at University of Geneva in Switzerland. At that time, I took the initiative to secure a 6-month local internship. Although it was difficult to balance the internship with my schoolwork, I gained the ability to think and act independently, to consider matters from another person's perspective based on an understanding of differences, and to resolve friction at the workplace.

シェ I learned the importance of speaking with many people and communicating my own opinions. I was able to directly hear the political opinions of students from countries which are the target of debate in Taiwan. In particular, I am very interested in the opinions of Chinese students. When listening to my classmates, I felt that Taiwanese people misunderstand China.

シレー Many students from throughout Asia study at Waseda. As an Asian student myself, I find great meaning in actively discussing each other's culture with foreign students who are from different areas of Asia.

――Please discuss your future aspirations.

Tomida I want to gain more specialized knowledge and foreign language proficiency. In the future, I hope to work in a capacity which will benefit Japanese people, Japanese society, and people throughout the world. Although I have a long road ahead of me, I will establish steps for gradually achieving my ultimate goal. I know I can achieve my dreams through diligent effort.

シェ Currently, Taiwan is in a state of political instability. Currently, foreign diplomacy is difficult because position and sovereignty still have not been established. Similar to other countries, Taiwan also faces issues including wealth disparity and environmental problems. By utilizing knowledge acquired at Waseda and my patriotic spirit, I want to contribute to the solution of Taiwan's social issues.

シレー Thanks to having experienced various cultures in an international environment, I would like to work while traveling among many different countries. In the future, I hope to utilize what I learned at Waseda and aid the lifestyles of people in needy regions throughout the world from the field of civil engineering.