While some GSEP graduates seek their new study opportunities outside Japan, not a few graduates choose to remain at Tokyo Tech for their graduate study. Aby, a GSEP 1st batch graduate and a doctoral student at Tokyo Tech from Indonesia, tells us his life after GSEP.
Where you are now and what you are doing now? What would you like to do in the future?
I am currently doing my PhD in Energy Science and Engineering major, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, Tokyo Institute of Technology. I also belong to the Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics. My research is related to bidirectional chopper for Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) application in electric railways or vehicle.
Aside of my study, I have just finished a 6 months-internship in the Energy Modelling and Policy Planning Department, ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), where I managed to co-author 3 Op-Eds, 3 energy insights, and 1 strategic report, and help to conceptualize the theme for ACE’s annual energy conference. Currently, I also belong to the Energy Commission of the Overseas Indonesian Students’ Association Alliance. We are writing a book related to Indonesia’s energy situation to be later published in an Indonesian academic publisher.
In the future, I would like to participate in accelerating the renewable energy integration to the energy mix, or sustainable transportation/electric vehicle development in Japan and Indonesia. If possible, I would also like to contribute to raising the electricity penetration rate in Indonesia through the utilization of small-scale hybrid renewable energy system in rural areas.
If you look back the time at GSEP and if you consider what you gained from GSEP or stay at Tokyo Tech, how do you describe the benefits of the program? Any memorable event or experience?
GSEP gave me so many lessons during my four years in the program. First, GSEP taught me the variety of fields and how important it is to integrate the knowledge obtained from those fields in solving real-life problems or global issues. GSEP students belong to the Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Department.
For those who have not heard about it, transdisciplinary covers various subjects on engineering, social, project management, and liberal arts. Hence, since our second year, we have been given a wide scope of engineering knowledge (including chemical engineering, biological engineering, electrical engineering, and solid mechanics), complemented by social classes (with contents including sociology, science communication, etc.), and added by other optional subjects including project management and liberal arts (e.g., peace agreement and visionary projects).
Second, GSEP taught me how to work in a diverse team/community. In the program, we took numerous project-based classes. In those classes, we would be grouped and given problems of which we were expected to give our own creative solutions. Since around half of the students were international students from various backgrounds and with different ideas and mindsets, the discussions we had in the classes would be incredibly challenging yet informative and exciting. From these project-based classes, I learned how to communicate among my international peers and how to operate in a diverse environment.
Third, being a GSEP student has taught me how to be independent. Living alone in Japan was definitely not easy in the beginning. I did not know the language, I did not know anybody here, and I could hardly cook rice. Step by step, I learned how to do these things, which I would not do had I stayed in Indonesia. Leaving my comfort zone, my country, has definitely made me a better individual.
How does GSEP contribute to or is connected with what you are doing now?
I think GSEP has helped me to be where I am today in more than one way. The variety of subjects taught in GSEP gave me the chance to filter my subjects of interest to pursue in my study. It also helped me to realize the importance of integrating non-technical knowledge in the engineering fields. Interacting with a wide range of people through GSEP has risen my curiosity and desire to be a more global person.
Who could fit to GSEP based on your own opinion?
I do not want to box GSEP potential suitors, as I think everyone could fit being a GSEP student. However, there are several traits that might help if you want to become a GSEP student. First, anyone with a wide range of interest or curiosity. As I have explained above, in GSEP, there are a lot of different subjects that you can take. Hence, it would be a great opportunity for those who do not limit their thirst in knowledge.
Second, anyone who wants to widen their world and academic view. In GSEP, you will meet numerous excellent students with various backgrounds, knowledge, and abilities. Thus, it will let you to realize how big the world really is, and how deep knowledge can be.
Third, anyone who could adapt well in different situations. Being a GSEP student means leaving your home country, and I can assure you, it will not be easy. You will face hardships and challenges. Thus, the ability to adapt to different situations will help you to sail through those obstacles in your life as a GSEP student.
Any message to prospective students!
If and when you become a GSEP student, please do not waste this golden opportunity. Do not be satisfied with just passing through the classes. That is the bare minimum requirement. Be proactive, be curious, and be communicative. Learn and experience as much as you can. Try to join an organization or clubs, join competitions, look for internships, or volunteering experience. Grasp the many opportunities that GSEP and Tokyo Tech offer, because four years may seem like a long period of time, but it will end before you realize it. Make as many connections as you can, because it will benefit you in the future. Lastly, do not forget to appreciate this opportunity, because not everyone can be a GSEP student. You are among the lucky ones.
Aby is currently completing his PhD at Tokyo Institute of Technology, majoring in Energy Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department. He also belongs to Tokyo Tech Academy of Energy and Informatics. Previously, he completed his Master’s and Bachelor degrees at Tokyo Institute of Technology. He majored in Energy Science and Engineering, Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Department, while also minored in Industrial Engineering and Economics and Sustainable Engineering. He has interest in renewable energy, power electronics, and sustainable transportation/electric vehicle.