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Student Voice No.8

"Believe in Your Choice, Make and Pursue Your Dream" 
  Chang Hsiang-Chuan

    Waseda University

I am Chang Hsiang-Chuan, now studying in the first year of my doctoral course at Waseda University in Tokyo. I am from Taiwan and had my education from elementary school until university in Taiwan. I graduated from Department of Engineering and System Science in National Tsing Hua University with a bachelor degree. Then I went to U.S.A. for a two-year master program in Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. However, now I belong to transportation planning laboratory, and my research topic is related to Light Rail Transit (LRT) and other public transportation systems.

Actually, it was a very difficult challenge to change my study place from U.S.A. to Japan. My grandfather and my mother both obtained their doctoral degree in U.S.A., so they insisted that I should continue my study in U.S.A. Nevertheless, I enjoy the life style in Asia more and I thought that Japan could also provide me with good time in not only research experiences but also intercultural experiences. As a result, I firmly decided to come to Japan for my doctoral study. Now I feel the decision I made three years ago was a right and great choice.

Firstly, I would like to share my university life in my laboratory with members. Most members in the laboratory are Japanese students; hence, it was difficult to get closer when I first joined the laboratory since my Japanese was very poor when I came to Tokyo. Although Japanese people are very shy and not so willing to use English, they are very kind to foreign students and help me a lot even carrying on communication in only English or Japanese is not easy. So now, I have many friends in the laboratory, we keep in contact and often get together even after their graduation. My professor is very kind to me and the relation among all the members is very good, that makes my life in the laboratory happy.

Another thing I would like to mention is Japanese language. Definitely, it was a barrier when I first came to Japan because most staff in restaurants or stores could not speak English well. Nevertheless, that situation made me even firmly decided that I should study harder for Japanese language, so I can have good communication with Japanese people. Instead of giving up, I started to take some courses in the language center of Waseda University. In addition, I tried to use Japanese language by all the opportunities I had. That is to say, when I talked to members in the laboratory or staff in stores, I used only Japanese if possible. That helped me a lot improve my listening and speaking skills. Although being still far from perfect, I can make many conversations with Japanese people now.

The Japanese culture is very charming to foreigners. Although, in Taiwan, most people also think that is important to be polite to other people, Japan stands at a higher level. Especially, the service industry is impressive since their attitudes and services are always so well trained and great. The Japanese festivals and other events are very interesting, too. The drinking party is another Japanese culture that I like very much. Because I enjoy drinking very much, I often join drinking parties in the laboratory in which students or graduate from the laboratory join. In addition, I often go drinking parties with friends in the laboratory. In those drinking parties, I gain a great chance to practice Japanese and come close to Japanese people.

The last reason that I enjoy here is that my hobby also fits well. Because I like travel very much, and Japan has many good spots. The planning and information of travel industry are always fantastic here, making it easier and enjoyable to travel in Japan. I am planning to complete the goal of traveling around all the 47 prefectures in Japan. Another hobby I enjoy is watching baseball games. I often went to baseball games in Taiwan and U.S.A., but I have found there are some special and interesting baseball cultures in Japan. For instance, the ways that baseball fans support their team are very special. There are many songs to support each baseball player and there will be lucky seven events during 7 innings to sing a song and play balloons. In addition, cute girls selling alcohol at baseball stadiums make it more interesting to enjoy baseball games in those stadiums.

In conclusion, I think Japan is a great place if you have interests and opportunity to study abroad. Not only the traditional Japanese culture, but Japan also has many international cities so you can enjoy the diversity of the different culture here too. If you are a person really like intercultural life, do not hesitate to come to Japan!

Went to Vietnam for International Conference with Members in Laboratory

Mountain Takao

With Beer Girl in Metlife Dome in Saitama