The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -


Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From Waseda to Thailand

Ms. Shiori Sato
4th Year Student at the School of International Liberal Studies

Encounter with Thailand

Uniforms are required at Thai universities

Ms. Sato's encounter with Thailand occurred when during her first year of high school. "Through ASEAN funding, I spent my summer vacation studying abroad in the northeast region of Thailand. I have strong memories of the experiences and encounters with people that I had at that time. Since then, I have visited Thailand many times." From August 2008 until September 2009, Ms. Sato fulfilled her dream by studying as a foreign exchange student at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

The fact that students at Thai universities are required to wear uniforms is not widely known in Japan. "When wearing such a uniform, a Japanese person is often mistaken for a local Thai citizen or a Chinese resident. I was sometimes asked 'Why can't you speak Thai?!'". Ms. Sato says that the small number of Japanese and exchange students was a wonderful opportunity for her to create close relationships with local Thai people.

Fulfilling extracurricular activities

Ms. Sato participated in a wide variety of activities while studying abroad in Thailand. "My strongest memory is of volunteer activities conducted by the Camping Club. The Camping Club is an organization composed of various students from schools such as the school of architecture and the school of education. In spring and autumn of every year, the Camping Club conducts volunteer activities in rural areas. In these comprehensive volunteer activities, students of various backgrounds utilize their fields of expertise in order to perform activities such as constructing libraries, building toilets, preparing meals, teaching after-school lessons, and playing with local children." During her study in Thailand, Ms. Sato experienced firsthand the realities and needs of a developing country. "In addition to traveling throughout Thailand, I took advantage of my location and also visited places such as the neighboring country Laos. One merit of my foreign studies was that I obtained a 'down-to-earth' experience which is particularly necessary for international cooperation."

Message to students wishing to study in Thailand

Ms. Sato offers the following advice: "You should definitely study the Thai language before going abroad. Even a small amount of study is fine. However, command of the Thai language is not the most important thing. Rather, it is important that you show a desire to understand the Thai language and culture. Also, it is important to actively participate in a variety of activities. Thai people are straightforward and kind. Your desire to understand Thailand will surely strike the hearts of Thai people, and they will answer kindly from their hearts. In my case, I prepared Japanese food for a party held with my friends. Thanks to the party, I became even closer with some friends and sometimes went to visit their homes."

Ms. Sato is considering working in Thailand after graduating from university. Also, she is interested in environmental and ecological measures as part of her continued involvement in international cooperation. "Although I hope to gain employment at a corporation, I will make every possible effort to volunteer and cooperate in activities held in Thailand!" There are high expectations for the new age of Thailand-Japan relations that will be opened by Ms. Sato.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)