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Selected Erasmus Mundus scholarship student (Philosophy)
Targeting becoming a high school teacher as an educator thinking about future generations

Naoko Murakami

Erasmus Mundus is a scholarship program established by the EU to improve the quality of higher education. Naoko Murakami, a student of the Graduate School of Political Science, was selected as a scholarship student of the master program in the philosophy section, Euro Philosophy.

Naoko is an impressive lady with emotionally rich expressions and gestures

Quite a few people have the impression that philosophy is a special field of study. Naoko was one of them. Her view of philosophy completely changed when she picked up Kant's "Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View" in her senior high school library. Feeling it was difficult, she patiently read the book and noticed one thing. "When one hears words like philosophers and thinkers, one tends to imagine a noble soul. But even Kant felt lonely when he was alone and wanted things and money. He was an ordinary man like us. Similarly, I realized that philosophy was an ordinary study done by ordinary people," Naoko says.

After graduating from high school, Naoko entered the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Letters, Hosei University. Through lectures, she has touched the hearts of many philosophers. "What is common among great philosophers is that they all prayed for the growth of future generations. I'm not a philosopher, but I want to succeed the spirit at least." Soon, Naoko decided to become a high school teacher as an educator thinking about future generations. "I have studied an ordinary study of philosophy just as an ordinary student," she says, smiling. But she wanted to show to her future students that such an ordinary person could face the challenge. While studying at Hosei, she studied in Germany, and after graduation, tried the entrance examination of the Graduate School of Political Science, WASEDA University. Naoko has faced and addressed many challenges, but she didn't have confidence in herself. "At the interview for the entrance examination of Graduate School, I couldn't talk about what I wanted to do more than I had prepared and dropped my head. Honestly speaking, I thought that I wouldn't be able to pass the exam. But I also thought I wanted to study here someday. It was such a heartwarming interview." She nearly gave up, but she did actually pass the exam. As a graduate student of WASEDA, she started to study political philosophy under Professor Shozo Iijima.

A photo taken when she was studying in Germany, Naoko is on the extreme left, front row

She worked desperately hard to catch up with the classes. At the seminar, Professor Iijima always argued her down. She lost some confidence. "Still, after repeating the dialog with the professor, he started to laugh, saying my interpretation is 'Interesting!' Whenever I see the smile on Professor Iijima's face, I regained confidence."

Naoko then took a step toward the next challenge. She decided to apply for Erasmus Mundus. "I am now studying at WASEDA as a result of chance. So I thought I should face the challenge without thinking about what would happen next. Maybe the true motivation was that I wanted to see the professor smile (laughing)." Euro Philosophy is a master course program to get a global view through two years of study at three universities in Europe. Without a good command of languages, even the submission of the application is difficult, but Naoko was evaluated as number two among other non-European applicants. Professor Iijima who had written a letter of recommendation was very pleased, showing an expression she had never seen before.

Naoko is now preparing to study in Europe as an Erasmus Mundus scholarship student. Finally, what has she gotten from philosophy? "Philosophy has given me dreams, encounters and materials to affirm myself. Whatever is waiting for me in life, I think I can overcome anything now." Naoko says she is an ordinary person. Her challenge seems to tell us that everyone has been born with infinite possibilities.

Erasmus Mundus scholarship students can get degrees at the same time from multiple universities they study. Source: European Commission

Scholarship students from various countries Source: European Commission

If you are interested in Erasmus Mundus, visit the website below:
Delegation of the European Union to Japan http://www.euinjapan.jp/programme/erasmus/

(Offered By:WASEDA WEEKLY)

Naoko Murakami

Born in Ehime Prefecture. Graduated from Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama-higashi Senior High School, 2nd year, master course, Graduate School of Political Science. She is a fan of Miori "Miorin" Ichikawa of AKB48, a Japanese pop group. Her favorite food is potatoes. "I'm happy if I have potatoes (laughing)."