GSEP Graduate Voices: Ying

Hi, my name is Ying. I graduated from GSEP in March 2022, and I am currently working as a software engineer in Tokyo.

Initially, I did not consider working in Japan after graduating. I did my fair share of research and the more I looked, the more I was convinced that Japan’s workplace culture is not for me. Therefore, I became determined to absorb as much as I can — from the people I meet, new places I get to explore, using what little time I have left in this country before I pack my bags and leave.

But then, at the end of my second year of study, the pandemic hit, and both of my parents lost their jobs. That, coupled with the worsening of my home country’s economic situation, I began to reconsider my future plans. I decided to, at the very least, give job hunting a shot. Fortunately for me, Tokyo Tech provides ample career support to international students. I knew I needed all the help I could get because I was aware that job hunting in Japan is very different from other countries. Throughout my job hunting journey, I was a frequent user of the school’s career counseling service. They have helped me with understanding many Japan-specific work-related topics, such as Japan’s unique bonus system, SPI tests, and even basic things like ways to find out whether you are fairly compensated. I have also attended job information exchange events organized by Tokyo Tech which introduced me to companies in different industries who are aiming to hire international students.

Tokyo Tech student ambassadors

By the end of my junior year, I became a Tokyo Tech student ambassador, joined UNIQLO’s Global Management Program and Google Japan’s Summer Training in Engineering Program while working part-time as a programming tutor. Each new opportunity allowed me to gain new insights, gather new knowledge, and work with incredibly smart and talented people from all around the country and all over the world. I then joined Takada Laboratory, a laboratory focusing on wireless communications and signal processing. In my final semester at Tokyo Tech, I conducted a research project on device-free indoor localization using Wi-Fi signals. The project aimed to leverage the micro-Doppler effect caused by chest movement during respiration to determine the location of a single human target. I also had the opportunity to present my research findings in the IEICE General Conference 2022.

With Takada sensei. It was a fruitful learning experience conducting research in his lab.

In the summer break of my final year, I joined a software engineering internship at a Japanese cloud security company called HENNGE. At the end of the internship, I was offered a full-time position, which is where I am at today. It is needless to say that my time as a GSEP student has helped me prepare for my current role. In my day-to-day work, I work closely with engineers, designers and product managers from different countries to build features for customers. Navigating cultural differences while working in a diverse and collaborative environment is never easy, but fortunately, I find myself being able to adapt quickly because I was already exposed to similar settings and experiences as a GSEP student.

If you are looking to expand your knowledge beyond a conventional engineering course, or if you are looking to broaden your horizons by meeting different people from all around the world, then studying at Tokyo Tech is a good place to be. It is challenging to live and study in a foreign country especially when you don’t know the language and culture, but it has allowed me to have access to opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Looking back, I am glad that I tried out as many things as I possibly could, and put in effort to assimilate with the local community and immerse myself in the language. I am thankful for the help and support I have received from GSEP faculty members, coursemates, and Takada labmates. I wouldn’t have graduated if not for their compassion and resilience during these difficult times.

Ying belonged to the third batch of GSEP students and her home country is Malaysia.