<<  February 2012  >>


  1. Career
    1. My One and Only
    2. Interning at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
    3. S. Takata Memorial Research Library and My Research Theme
    4. Building a Career in Japan - Don't let the Japanese people beat you in linguistic skills and cultural comprehension -
    5. 67 years after World War II
    6. What is a life plan? From the National Bar Exam to becoming a painter
    7. Job-hunting experience note -Receiving a job offer from the first-choice company is not a dream-
    8. Job-hunting experience note -Self-analysis is about "Constructing one-self"-
    9. The skill-levels of world-class top talents are extremely high. That is why, in order to compete against the world, ambition and aspiration is necessary.
    10. Japan's passport did not come falling from the skies. Fight now for the respect of the future Japanese.
    11. OECD Internship Report
    12. Settling down in Waseda
    13. Be true to yourself, boldly step forward into the things that excite you!
    14. Job Hunting experience notes
    15. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    16. Using My experiences from Waseda,
    17. Waseda:An everlasting bond
    18. Recent report from Denmark
    19. Submission from WiN member (Recent Report)
    20. Memories of Waseda
    21. My experience at Waseda
    22. My time at Waseda University
    23. Teaching Position at Korea University
  1. Event Reports
    1. C21 Tokyo Challenge
    2. Enjoying a taste of South-East Asia: Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwiches and Milo
    3. Looking Back on the "Go Global Japan" English Presentation Contest
    4. Student Visa Day at the American Embassy
    5. 3rd Place Finish in the "Hong Kong Cup"
    6. Students' Day at the American Embassy
    7. ASIAN STUDENTS ENVIRONMENT PLATFORM 2012: Environmental field studies by students from Japan, China, and Korea
    8. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 2: Non-academic conference learning
    9. Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 1: Academic conference learning
    10. The 7th Foreigner's Traditional Japanese Dance Exhibition: Waseda University student performers' questionnaire interview
    11. [Event] Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 at Waseda University - ended in a great success!
  1. Gourmet
    1. What Do You Do With a Major in Ramen?
  1. Others
    1. "Ship for South East Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP)"
    2. Exchange Students from US Reunite at Waseda after 30 years
    3. "Like" WiN on Facebook!
    4. WiN Blog starts
  1. Sports
    1. Learning How "To Think" Through Waseda University's Track & Field
    2. Participating in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
    3. "Participating in the XXV Winter Universiade Games (2011/Erzurum)"
    4. My experience with Waseda's American Football Bukatsu
  1. Study Abroad
    1. Shifting Cultivation and the Challenge of Sustainability in Mopungchuket Village, India
    2. Building the TOMODACHI Generation
    3. Kakehashi Project Report
    4. The Double Degree Program at Peking University
    5. Camping and Snowshoeing in Canada
    6. An Encouragement of two-stages approach to study abroad
    7. Studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia
    8. A new kind of Study Abroad
    9. 14-Day Short term Study Abroad Program in Chowgule College, Goa - "What can I do? What can they do? What can you do?"
    10. From Tsugaru strait to the African highest peak Kilimanjaro
    11. PIANO LINE -Seattle Study Abroad Chronicles-
    12. In Finland, as an Artist and a Researcher
    13. What I learned about China through Shanghai Fudan University
    14. Why are those who've experienced study abroad programs a little different? -Full Japanese SILS student reveals the whole story of studying abroad -
    15. China, The Neighboring Country You Do Not Know ~ My Encounter at Peking University ~
    16. Study Abroad Experience Notes
    17. C'est la vie! This is life! Work hard, Play hard.
    18. Study abroad @ Taiwan
    19. Study abroad @ Beijing
  1. Study in Japan
    1. Visiting the Prime Minister's Residene
    2. IPS Summer School 2016: Culture Meets Culture
    3. The World is Smaller than We Think
    4. Waseda Summer 2016
    5. The Opportunity of a Lifetime
    6. Experiencing Village Life at Kijimadaira
    7. A Fantastic Opportunity
    8. A Rewarding Experience
    9. An Amazing Experience
    10. Take Me Wonder by Wonder
    11. I Couldn't Ask for More
    12. Another Kokusaibu Story
    13. SAKURA Exchange Program in Science
    14. I Want to Go Again!
    15. More than Good Sushi
    16. Immersive Experience into the Japanese Culture
    17. 40 Years of Memories in a Photo
    18. Experiencing Everything First Hand
    19. Waseda Summer Session wasn't like any other Summer Camp
    20. Looking Forward to the Past
    21. Weeding a Rice Paddy ~Field Trip to Niigata~
    22. Japan Study Students to Waseda: A message from the class of 1983-84
    23. Developing Medical and Welfare Robots ~The Challenges of Kabe Laboratory, Faculty of Human Sciences~
    24. Recollecting experiences of Exchange Programme at Waseda
    25. Kuroda Kazuo Interview: About Studying in Japan
  1. Volunteer Activity
    1. Taking the first step in volunteering
    2. "Volunteer experience in earthquake-hit area Natori"
    3. "The Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Volunteering"
    4. How my perspective changed through volunteering
    5. Tohoku Volunteer
    6. Great East Japan Earthquake    "Fumbaro East Japan Support Project"


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Blog:Feb, 2012

Settling down in Waseda

Name in full: Alexander Schmitz
Country or region of origin : Austria
Period attended at Waseda: 2011 ~ 2013
Status at Waseda University : Visiting Researcher
Place of enrollment at Waseda University : Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering
Specialty at Waseda University : Humanoid Robotics
Advisor at Waseda University : Professor Sugano

How has studying abroad at Waseda aided you in your career/academic path? :
I was really very picky for my postdoc position and there were only a handful of places that I really considered. Finally I chose Waseda because it is one of the top places in the world for humanoid robots and furthermore Tokyo is an amazing city. I applied for and received a JSPS postdoc stipend, so also the financial part was easy.
 After it was clear that I will move to Tokyo everybody congratulated me on this decision. The Sugano Lab is a world renown institute and has one of the best humanoids worldwide. Even though it was hard to leave my established and well going work at the Italian Institute of Technology, I am sure that the knowledge I will gain in Tokyo will be helpful for my future career. I am confident that my stay in Japan will advance my own research (as it already has in my first three months here), while at the same time contribute to the progress of research in Japan.

Most memorable event at Waseda University :
 I guess it was my first night at the guest house of the university, STEP 21. I am lucky enough that the university let me stay at their accommodation, and furthermore a former colleague of mine that I have worked with together already in Italy also lived at STEP 21. So he welcomed me, showed me around the area, which is full of restaurants (that are very reasonably priced) and little supermarkets, we had dinner, and he gave me a crash course into Japan. Even though I was super tired after the long journey to Japan, it was exciting to be finally here. Also the people working at the STEP 21 were really friendly and helped me with small problems (like where to find a bank, a post office ...).  Afterwards we went out for a night out in Shibuya, which was also fun, of course!

Message to WiN members :
 It was actually amazingly easy for me to settle down in Tokyo and I had to adapt my lifestyle far less than expected. My colleagues are great, all the formalities went smooth, the food is great, people in general are very friendly. I can only encourage everyone to come to Tokyo and study/work at Waseda!







Taking the first step in volunteering

Period Attended at Waseda: 2008.4-
Affiliation/Program at Waseda: School of Social Sciences

Seeing is believing.  We slept on the bus on the way there and spent only half a day volunteering, but even so, it meant a lot to actually go there and see it with my own eyes.
It’s so easy to receive information through our eyes and ears through the media, but it’s a totally different experience to be there and smell the smells and feel the atmosphere. It’s far more graphic in real life and almost pounces on you.

The kind of work we did was clearing trash and rubble from damaged homes, and clearing grass from the farms. The farms in Tsunami stricken areas were covered by salt water and now there is weed growing all over them.In order to farm there again all the weeds need to be taken out and the soil replaced. There are many farmers who are now thinking about giving up farming altogether.
So looking back, our jobs as volunteers was to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty to encourage these farmers to start believing again. In, reality we would be the ones benefiting in the long run, because we will be ones eating their crops in the future.

Also, the local people were saying that many elderly people in refugee centers were starting to feel lonely and isolated away from their local community. Which is why I feel it’s important for volunteers to go, and the conversations that are had, will mean just as much if not more than the physical work that is done.
I realized it’s not enough to just send money and re-build “things,” but that the heart’s of the people there need rebuilding too!
The man who’s house we were helping with, said this with tears in his eyes as we were saying goodbye.

“I’m sorry you had to do such dirty work. Thank you so much. I wish you all the best in your studies when you go back to school.”
When he said “I wish you all the best in your studies..” I felt like what he was really saying was “I hope this will never happen again for the future generations,” and now it’s up to us to figure that out.
It was a chance for us to really think about our future.

I am so thankful for the things I learned and want to continue to think about how we can help restore the disaster zones.  I think this is the first step we can take in volunteering.

Please see The Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center (WAVOC) web, too>> (In Japanese only)


Be true to yourself, boldly step forward into the things that excite you!


Dr. Kazuo Kuroda
Dean of the Center for International Education
Professor of Graudate School of Asia-Pacific studies.

From student life to the International Community.
What kind of student life did you have Dr. Kuroda?
 In my second year of University, I started living in a dormitory for foreign Students at the Asian Cultural Center for three years. They allowed three people from each country to live in the dormitory so three people from Japan had the opportunity to live in the dormitory. So I was one of only three Japanese to share this dormitory and live with others from Asia and Latin America and other countries around the world. Life at the dormitory was a pseudo International Community and I learned to adapt to different cultures.
I also took part in a youth International Exchange Program called the Southeast Asian Ship.

 At the time there was a strong negative image about Asia in terms of poverty and the history of colonial rule, however after spending two months living side by side with other Asian youth, I saw that in fact, Asia is an energetic, dynamic and interesting place. Our bond became like family and I changed a lot after being with these passionate Asian youth who knew that they could change society for the better. 

You have experienced many things, what was it that got you started?
 It was my desire to be involved in the International community in some shape or form.
My undergraduate days were filled with various other activities besides what I mentioned before, like engaging in activities at the international conference with the International Student Association of Japan, and I also started a student association at the United Nations University.
Because I had this strong desire, every activity was full of passion and excitement for me. Whether you look inside or outside the University, the opportunities are everywhere. But you can’t be passive. It’s important to be actively seeking out opportunities for yourself.
In order to do this you first need to have a vision or desire of who you want to be and hold on to it tightly.

Seriously consider areas that excite you.
What do you think are skills and qualities needed in the “Global Human Resource world”?
 Broadly speaking the three main elements would be expertise, communication and passion and the most important of these would be expertise. No matter how good you are communicating in English, or how tolerant of diversity, or how passionate you are about working in the international community, unless you have some form of expertise to offer it’s not enough. So I would like to encourage students to seriously consider what contribution you can make to the international community. 
Education development is my area of expertise, I love my field of research and find it very interesting. It’s extremely important for students to find something that you can be passionate about developing yourself in for the rest of your life.

How can students acquire expertise in an area if they don’t go on to become graduate students?
 Becoming a graduate student is of course one option, but it’s very possible to acquire skills while you are working too. However, please choose your job very carefully. I am fully aware the job hunting situation is very difficult, however please consider what areas you would like to develop your skills in and how you can gain these skills from the job you are applying for.
You also need to remember to keep developing those skills once you do start working.
Of course educational institutions are not governments, companies or NPOs. Contribution to the organization you work for must be first priority. But please have a long-term perspective, and work to grow and polish yourselves especially in your 20’s and early 30’s.
It can take quite some time to acquire the skills that can assist developing countries, it will probably take until your late thirties. From my own personal experience, I have had the support and assistance of many people from developing countries over many years. So in return I want to spend the rest of my life throwing myself passionately in to my field of research and to keep reaching for new heights. 

What can you do to find something you can passionate about?
 After spending time with students I realized how hard it was to find something to be passionate about let alone to find a field of expertise or a career. You may not be sure what you’re interested in yet. So it’s essential to challenge and try many new things. If you find something you like then really sink your teeth in to it. I had an affair on my true calling and started working for a bank once. However I knew was only fooling myself. I couldn’t change the passion I had for education in developing countries. That is why I am where I am now. If you are true to yourself and follow your dreams then you will never end up being unhappy, because if you are doing what you truly love you will overcome any obstacle or circumstance.

The bad habit of depending on a brand name.
Lately young people are thought of as being very “inwardly focused”, what do you think the actual situation is at Waseda?
 I don’t have the impression that Waseda students are inward focused at all.
For instance, the minor subject of “International Co-operation” has become very popular this semester. Also, it’s not completely bad to be inward focused either. If people were only thinking Internationally, and there weren’t people taking care of our own country then we will become like grass with no roots.
So it’s very important to have a balanced perspective.
Waseda University culture has always had diversity in students, and I feel that it is becoming even more of a homogenized society.

 In the past I think the student culture revolved around doing something that was different to other people. More students these days come from prep school, are from the Tokyo region, and some may be from families high up in the social hierarchy. It’s no different to Keio University in some ways. Waseda University is all about raising leaders in a diversity of fields so I think it’s very dangerous for us to start putting everyone in the same box.

How can students diversify?
 The best thing is to fail many times. To challenge and fail is a great thing.
The students here are the elite when it comes to examinations, they don’t like failing and I think they are afraid of failure.
Waseda University is a brand name so many students take advantage of that name and don’t push themselves but depend on the name to carry them through. I have been seeing this bad habit in more students these days. “I won’t try because I’m afraid to fail, the fact that I am a Waseda student will be enough.” This is a wrong way of thinking.
Things like challenging new programs and putting your heart and soul in to them to the point of breaking point. These qualities are so important in working in the International Community. If everyone can find these things that make them feel alive and chase after them with heart and soul, I think it will bring back more diversity to Waseda University.
<Reprinting from ICC webmagazine (Japanese only)>

Career:Before his current position, Dr Kuroda was a lecturer and assistant professor at the Center for International Cooperation in Education at Hiroshima University.
In addition, he was on the national committee of UNESCO Japan, visiting Professor at the Institute of Developing Economies Development School and a researcher for JICA. He has also been engaged in research assessment development areas such as the Ministry of Education, JICA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Kuroda obtained an MA (International Education Development) at Stanford University and a Ph.D. (Sociology of Education) at Cornell University.


 ICC webmagazine (Japanese only)

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