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Student Voice No.3

Coming to Japan is my dream, studying in Kyoto is beyond it.  Souphaysone Manodharm

Master student, Civil and Earth Resource engineering, Kyoto University

My life experience in Japan is incredible and I have said this to everyone I met in Kyoto. I am just a student from Laos who came to Kyoto to follow my dream as an engineering student, never thought I would be able to learn so much from Japan. When I was writing this story (that I feel not an essay) I was in Laos for home visit, most people become recognizing I have many things in common with Japanese people such as ways of living, thinking and working. Living my life in a discipline, thinking for the possibility and working the best on what I am responsible for. Believe or not, I don’t even know from when I begin to change or “improve” myself.

Kyoto has its own uniqueness and beauty throughout every season, reflecting another atmosphere from Tokyo, and I am very grateful to be here. Before sharing my story about studying in Kyoto University, I would like to reveal some impressive memories as a foreign student in Japan. The first thing tied with my everyday awesome life story is about Japanese People. I would like to start from the first memorable story happened to me two years ago when I arrived in Kyoto. Around 1 p.m. when I reached my dormitory, there was one female staff waiting for me, she was very friendly, kind and helpful. She asked me if I had eaten anything after arriving; I said no then she gave me her only cup noodle she had. That is my first meal as well as the first impression about Japanese people. Later, when I was guided to my nine-square-meter bedroom, I even wanted to cry because I never lived in such a small room in my life, until when I heard her encouragement I knew I could make it through.

Apart from the hospitality of the admin in the dormitory, it seems very common for foreigners to get helped by local Japanese when they are lost and I am most of the time one of them. Japanese people, despite their shyness to speak English, they never hesitate to help. The atmosphere in the dormitory I had stayed was very international, lively and full of happiness. I have become friends with people from all around the world unexpectedly; we love exploring Kyoto and trying new Japanese food together. In addition, I also got myself the best Japanese host family in the world; I like visiting them and sometimes cooked Lao food for them. About my laboratory, I have lovely Japanese friends around, who always give me companies and hands when I have problems especially with language and communication.

Furthermore, focusing on student life in Kyoto University, it is impossible not to mention about the most respectable person who gives me the opportunity to join his lab, my supervisor, Professor Yasuto Tachikawa. I have spent my one year and a half here to prove him my hard works and willingness to learn the new things, something mainly about hydrology, flood forecast, water resource management and disaster prevention. Although switching from Electrical engineering to Civil engineering seems a big struggle for me, my supervisor has been giving his great effort in helping and guiding me throughout the hard time. That’s why I respect and admire him like my father, actually not just me feel that but everyone in our lab. Not only that he is very kind and supportive, he is truly open-mined, always listens to students’ ideas and gives us freedom to build our own ways to achieve the goal.

In summary, I am so much into Japanese people; I tremendously adore their hard works, principles and generosity, as a result as I am-day by day- absorbing Japanese Culture in all roles I take. Finally I really appreciate every single experience I have gained in Japan as it makes me grow like today. I will work my best on the research and never stop enhancing myself as long as I have the chance be here, one of the wonderful places in the world, Kyoto.

The exploring life of foreign student in Japan

My host family in Kyoto

My first achievement, attending the international summer program in Tokyo

IHP training course in Kyoto University