Having spent the past six years studying at Tokyo Tech, Gulian Quan, who hails from Fushun in north-east China, has had plenty of time to form some opinions about life in Japan. "The Japanese are so majime (diligent, serious)," she says, "and they work such long hours."
Quan, 26, is no slouch herself. Most students make a point of relaxing and enjoying their long summer and winter breaks. Quan, in pursuit of obtaining an MA, spends these vacations doing fieldwork in her specialty: seismic bridge design. As an undergraduate studying civil engineering, she also worked part-time to help pay her way through college. "That was hard," she admits, "but the experience has made me a stronger person, better able to face life's difficulties."
Towards the end of her undergraduate days, she heard about the Career Development Program for Foreign Students in Japan (CDSA) at Tokyo Tech. Sponsored by the Japanese government, CDSA provides scholarships for foreign students in Japan wishing to work for a Japanese company. She successfully applied and is now in her second year of a masters program. What's more, she has a job lined up after graduation, with a local engineering company. "CDSA has helped turn my dream into a reality," says Quan. She neglects to add that her own majime spirit has also played a part.
Tokyo Institute of Technology Bulletin No. 12 (September, 2009)