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  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
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    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

Reflections on the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012 Part 1: Academic conference learning

Profile
Name: Alvin Ip
Home institute: University of British Columbia
Presenter at Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference 2012

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Summary of overall experience

I am happy and honoured to have had the opportunity to represent the University of British Columbia (UBC) at the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference (U21 URC) 2012, hosted by Waseda University in Japan. Attending U21 URC and presenting my research to a global audience have been unforgettable and amazing experiences. Simply put, the research conference exceeded my expectations in every way.

Over the course of my five-day experience, I learned so much from listening to presentations and interacting with others. I gained important presentation skills, received valuable feedback on my research, and made many new friends from all around the world. All of these things have significantly contributed to my personal and professional development as a student-researcher. I believe that my participation at U21 URC is an important stepping-stone for me because I am aspiring to become a physician-scientist in the future.
 

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Academic conference learning (“working hard”)

In this section of my reflection essay, I will focus on the academic side of my conference learning, which I gained through actively observing and listening to presentations at U21 URC.

I will start off by writing about some of the new things that I learned from my exposure to many different fields of study. A presentation on why Japan introduced nuclear energy taught me that scientists can sway public opinion. And large numbers of people can join together to start movements. Public movements and protests can significantly change how a community, city, country, and society work. As scientists, it is important to not only generate new knowledge, but to make an effort ensuring that it is properly understood and applied.

In a presentation on citizenship education, I learned that citizenship is the reciprocal connection between individuals and society, focusing on obligations and responsibilities. To build citizenship within a society or community, we must encourage participation in society, politics, and government. I believe that a great way to build citizenship is provide support and opportunities for people to volunteer, participate in clubs and extra-curricular activities, or even create a new initiative. Allowing people to pursue their passions and make use of their talents will create a win-win situation for everyone.

As it was a multidisciplinary conference with the theme of “Connecting to the Future”, I also analyzed how the information that I learned from one presentation could relate to others. One example came from connecting three presentations from students of three different universities. After I learned about the importance of citizenship, there were two presentations on corruption. Casey had a controversial hypothesis, which was that corruption enhances political stability. She claimed that when power is given to local governments, this practice increases corruption but decreases violence in the country because the new people in power want stability as well. However, I would disagree with looking at the evidence this way.

From what I learned about citizenship, I believe that increased stability may be attributed to the fact that more people are actively involved in politics and contributing to society. However, corruption should not and cannot be condoned – measures must be in place to prevent corruption, because corruption sometimes comes with power. It was very appropriate that the next presentation highlighted a tactic used to combat corruption. Teaching good citizenship at a young age may prevent corruption in the future. One example is the Honesty Canteen in many Indonesian elementary schools. Students are free to take food from an unstaffed canteen. They are encouraged to be honest in order to keep the budget balanced. If the canteen goes bankrupt and has insufficient funds to buy more food, the school canteen will close down. In the long run, the students are the ones who lose out if they are not honest.

Then, along came another great presentation that tied in with the ones above. There is supporting evidence that the aforementioned tactic may work well for school-aged children because they tend to be influenced more easily and more apt to believe what they are told. However, as Arun pointed out, this means that they can also be more vulnerable to deception. Therefore, he argued children should be protected by law against targeted advertising. However, the law also has to remain flexible and adaptable in order to react to changing public conditions.

In today's society, globalization and advances in transportation has brought about increased tourism. In fact, it has been found that 1 in 7 people goes travelling each year. However, tourism is a double-edged sword. Its negative traits include changing how the government chooses to allocate its resources, impacting the local way of life, and affecting the environment. This presentation on responsible and sustainable tourism really hit home to me, because I am being a tourist for 1.5 months this year! I will keep in mind the responsibility that I have toward sustainable tourism as I travel in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan this summer.

There are many more things that I learned, but unfortunately, I cannot write comprehensively about them all. But I will say that through listening to the excellent presentations given at U21 URC, I have been exposed to many new ideas in fields of study other than my own. I have also learned many things that are directly applicable to me, such as responsible tourism.

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But more than just information, I have also gleaned valuable experience on how to improve my own research presentation skills. From watching a total of 37 oral presentations, I found it much easier to read the PowerPoint slides than to listen to the presenter. However, the presentation becomes more confusing and more difficult when the slide does not match what is being said. Therefore, I learned that the most effective way to present is to ensure that reading and listening happen at the same time.

The best presenters guided the audience through the slides, verbally announcing the keywords present on the slide and then expanding upon it. It is important to note that clean and simple PowerPoint slides make it easy to follow. Another important thing that I learned was to end off the presentation strong. A good ending should connect with the audience and make them feel good after hearing the last words of the presentation. This can take the form of wisdom, positive thinking, optimism, and thanks.

I also noticed that a bad habit may form when people are nervous during the question-and-answer period. The presenter will be so nervous and excited to answer that they will interrupt the person asking the question. As an audience member, I found this to be impolite and disrespectful. Therefore, I will keep in mind that I should not interrupt or start talking until the questioner is completely done asking his or her question. When answering questions, I should also be slow, clear, and make eye contact – just like how the presentation should be delivered. A good answer will be clear, succinct, and most importantly, directly answers the question.

I also learned how to ask questions professionally and appropriately at a research conference. First, if warranted, I should compliment their performance before asking my question. In terms of actually asking the question, a good suggestion would be to ask a question about a topic that was skipped over or one where the presenter had no time to discuss. Not only would you learn more, but the presenter would also be very happy to have the time to finish his or her presentation.

I would also like to share the comments and feedback and criticisms that attending faculty and staff (from many different universities) had for us in general. One professor highlighted the importance of making your research accessible and easy to understand, which I completely agree with. She also mentioned that it is very important to state your specific personal contribution – what you did exactly for the research project – especially when it is a large team project. This would establish credibility, making what you are saying more convincing.

Something that I could have only attained in a multidisciplinary conference was that research can take many forms. For arts and literature, close reading is required. In the social sciences, considering ethnography and interviewing people are the main ways of collecting data for research. In science, the field that I am most familiar with, the scientific method is closely followed.

Through the opportunity to attend this conference, I felt like I took ownership of my project. The challenge of engaging with an international and multicultural audience at U21 URC has helped me to improve upon the communication aspect of research. Preparing and presenting my 10-minute presentation forced me to extract the most important parts of my research. As well, I had to know my project inside out in order to prepare for questions which could be asked of me. I have gained motivation to continue my research project and act on my self-prescribed future directions.

Attending U21 URC has been a valuable opportunity for academic growth and professional development. Academically, I learned about the cutting-edge research from many different disciplines. But more importantly, I have gained insights into how others have applied their discoveries and knowledge to improve our world in a meaningful way. As I am aspiring to become a physician-scientist, the lessons from U21 URC will help me translate present and future research findings into clinical practices that will enhance the health and quality of life of patients.
 

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