Tokyo Tech News
Fifteen Tokyo Tech students visited Indonesia from September 6 to 16 as participants in the Tokyo Tech-Asia Young Scientist and Engineer Advanced Study (AYSEAS) 2015 program.
The Tokyo Tech-Asia Young Scientist and Engineer Advanced Study Program (AYSEAS) is a short-term study abroad program that brings students from Tokyo Tech to Southeast Asian countries for visits to companies, governmental organizations, and universities together with students from the host country and AYSEAS participants from nearby countries. Aiming to nurture global leaders, the program provides opportunities for participants to develop mutual understanding and cooperation through discussions with their peers from other cultures and countries.
Gadjah Mada University, the oldest national university in Indonesia, was the host for AYSEAS 2015.
In addition to the Tokyo Tech delegation, seventeen students from Southeast Asian partner universities participated in the program, which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia's center of politics and business, and Yogyakarta, a city known for its history and culture. Participants visited Indonesian and Japanese companies, an Indonesian governmental organization, and a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project.
After company and organization visits each day, students applied the knowledge they had acquired through the visits to discussions in which they exchanged views on possible solutions to various challenges in Indonesia, such as the traffic gridlock in Jakarta. They conducted presentations on these topics on the last day of the program.
One highlight of the AYSEAS program is the opportunity for students to learn about the histories and cultures of Southeast Asian countries through cultural exchanges among each other and through visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Indonesia, the AYSEAS 2015 group visited Borobudur.
Through the program, students were able to experience not only the significant power of Indonesian industries but also to overcome challenges and work together by respecting and learning from their differences in nationality, culture, and religion. The common goals and shared accommodation and meals required participants to communicate, negotiate, and cooperate, thus nurturing skills that enable them to contribute to global society in their future careers. Moreover, the participants were rewarded by the strong bonds and friendships they developed through the program.
The final presentation session was held at Tokyo Tech on November 2. Student teams further improved the presentations they had given in Indonesia and commented on the program's achievements. After the presentations, Executive Vice President for Education and International Affairs Toshio Maruyama presented each of the participants with a certificate.
A closing party followed, in which the students and staff of Tokyo Tech-AYSEAS enjoyed the evening sharing memories of AYSEAS 2015 and reminiscing about their days in Indonesia.
2nd year, Bioengineering
AYSEAS is a program rich in content, which I cannot adequately describe as just a "study abroad program." First, we had some lectures in Japan, then we flew to Indonesia and spent a busy 11 days there. After coming back to Japan, we gave final presentations and completed the program. It was really interesting to experience not only factory tours and lectures in English, but also discussions with other students to create our group presentation together. Our group's presentation was "Motorization and Traffic Jams." Since the schedule in Indonesia was tight, we stayed up late for a few days preparing, but it was time well spent. I could hear from an Indonesian student that "we regard the traffic jam as a serious problem, but the government put off solving the problem." I could also see that the other students were amazed at how punctual Japanese public transportation is. Each experience was novel, and I enjoyed preparing for the presentation.
Moreover, I was glad to take part in AYSEAS because I could make a lot of wonderful friends. First of all, I met Tokyo Tech participants from different department and years whom I would not have encountered even though we are in the same university. I was the youngest participant, and the other members were brilliant. They were mature, had studied abroad many times, and spoke English very well. In addition, participants from the other Asian countries were also awesome and stimulated me greatly. They did not hesitate to speak in English and asked questions actively during the Q&A sessions in factories. In our free time, we taught each other our mother tongues. I had to hear words many times to remember their languages, but I was astonished by how quickly the others picked up Japanese. Even now, I keep in touch with them, and it is a good opportunity not only to keep using English but also to review Japanese grammar through teaching them Japanese. Since I met a lot of people from different backgrounds, I felt that I had to learn much more English and technical knowledge than in Japan.
Finally, I would like to express appreciation to all the people who helped me, including JAYSES and AYSEAS participants, professors, and staff members.
2nd year, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
In this report, I will focus on two points: the reason I applied to AYSEAS 2015 and the most remarkable characteristic of this program. I would be really glad if others, especially those who are looking for opportunities for study abroad, benefit from my report.
The reason I applied to AYSEAS was that some upperclassmen I know had previously joined the program. I'm now a second-year undergraduate student and aim to try an overseas university to pursue my doctoral degree. Therefore, I'm preparing and brushing up my abilities for long-term study abroad. So this spring, I looked for a short-term exchange program to build my international experience. Fortunately, I knew several people who had experienced long-term study abroad. Many of them had participated in AYSEAS and recommended I join it. I also thought trying AYSEAS could be a big step toward my goal.
The most remarkable characteristic of the AYSEAS program was the constant opportunity to voice my opinions. From before I left Japan until now, I felt strongly aware of this. In this program, we not only study the program contents but also debate and share our ideas and opinions. We had opportunities to debate with group mates and other participants, executives of companies we visited, so many counterparts. I'm sure this point is also the most attractive part of the AYSEAS program. I had no anxieties regarding my daily conversations in English, but sometimes I realized that I couldn't express what I really wanted to say in higher-level discussions. Moreover, compared to more senior participants, I felt that I lacked an ability to develop logical arguments. In addition, I was a student leader and group leader, so I was completely exhausted after finishing the intense program. But now, I can say honestly that it was a stimulating experience, and there's nothing that makes me happier or prouder than to have completed this hard program as a young undergraduate. The title of my report, "AYSEAS 2015, the turning point of my university life," reflects this feeling.
Also, I was very impressed by my AYSEAS counterparts from participating universities in Southeast Asia. We talked a lot with each other about the projects of the companies we visited, about academic topics, about the characteristics of our cultures, and even shared some gossip! Thanks to their recommendations, I experienced many aspects of Indonesian culture. It was only a 10-day program, but from morning to midnight every day, we communicated and developed priceless relationships. I miss them a great deal, but I believe I can see all of them again soon.
Through AYSEAS 2015, I am sure I grew up a great deal as a Tokyo Tech student and as an individual. I am convinced that we could never have received the same sense of achievement we felt in AYSEAS through another program. We were able to improve ourselves through our interactions with each other. If you are inspired by me as I was influenced by my upperclassmen this spring, I recommend that you join AYSEAS with confidence.
Finally, let me extend my sincere appreciation to all the professors and staff members who helped us.