Greetings! I’m Soyeon from Korea. It has been half a year since I came to Tokyo Tech. I would like to share some of my thoughts from the past six months.
I think the GSEP program is a great opportunity for foreign students. We take courses provided in English while experiencing the benefits of a Japanese university such as large investment in science facilities, well-made systems, and passionate professors. The program allows taking elective courses in Japanese if we meet the proficiency, so we get to choose from a broad range of courses in a preferred language.
Most of the subjects that we (freshmen) are learning have the name ‘Fundamentals of ○○’. Even though they are supposed to be the basics of science and engineering, they are still pretty challenging in my opinion. Most courses have lots of homework, and the problems are very creative so you can’t find hints or clues on the internet. The Japanese language courses are interesting and not so burdening, because some classes use textbooks, while others use videos and anime. We learn a lot about Japanese culture in these classes. We also take compulsory liberal arts courses designed to make sure engineering students can recognize social problems and develop aims. The topics are broad – social issues, history, art, music, etc.
The most surprising part for me is how much Tokyo Tech emphasizes research ethics and honesty. In the first quarter, we had many lectures about research ethics. For every course, the professors constantly tell us that when we do an assignment or write a report, we must put down all the cited parts and give the source. We should never copy a friend’s work even for the simplest things. The main reason we are told is that we should appreciate and respect others’ work, not simply because we could get legal punishment. Although it is common sense, I have heard from my friends in my home country that plagiarism issues aren’t so strict in their school. It makes me think that respect among researchers is what really makes Tokyo Tech a prestigious university.
My favorite place in the campus is the computer room. There are several rooms around the campus where we can freely use the school’s computers, and they were brought in last year. We can log in to brand new Macbo*ks with our student IDs and use them like our own personal computers, with most of the programs needed for coding and programming already installed. The school also has a supercomputer called Tsubame, which undergraduate students don’t need to use yet. It is my wish to try at least one calculation using Tsubame before graduating.
Another great place is the library, where students can have access to many books, articles, and theses. There are separate floors – in some, we can study alone in silence, and in others, we can group-study with peers. It has enough seats for almost every student in the school, so anyone can go there to study. I love how every seat has electric sockets because we don’t have to worry about running out of battery while doing assignments. In addition, it is a very pleasant place that does not smell like old books thanks to good ventilation.
During the past six months, I learned not only science and engineering knowledge but also how to respect and interact with people from different cultures. I am very grateful for being in the university and everyone I met here. I really look forward to a hopeful future in Tokyo Tech.