Messages from Our Students
Last Updated: 26 October 2018
|Reason for enrolling||Advice to Examinees||About learning and research|
Reason for enrolling
I had advanced to graduate school in Kyoto University, but I found the environment at the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability (GSAIS or Shishu-Kan) to be very appealing, as I felt it would encourage individual growth with its tailor-made curriculum and the domestic and overseas internships, and decided to enroll here. Given the current situation of Japan, I believe that a Ph.D. is necessary, and apart from the benefits of my own research, I think the merits in the acquisition of content of a wide range of other areas of expertise has helped me in my decision to enroll.
The most important reason was my desire to become an international civil servant. I had it in mind to go to graduate school overseas, but I learned that it would be difficult to become an international civil servant even after development studies in graduate schools overseas. The majority of the international civil servants get employed with internships as a stepping stone. When I was an undergraduate student, I did not have the confidence to obtain an internship, which is said to be one in 1000 people. However, the fact that, at Shishu-Kan, students are guaranteed an internships in the fourth year was a big decision factor for me.
I decided to enroll to get what I needed to achieve my goals. My ultimate goal was to improve water environments. To do this, it is important to thinks about what type of knowledge is essential and what steps are needed to achieve it. In usual graduate schools, you would be thinking of things from one perspective, but in this graduate school, you can review and research from a variety of perspectives. I enrolled as I found this aspect appealing.
I enrolled in GSAIS, after graduating from another university and gaining some work experience. Working as a member of society was going on well, but when I thought of my future, I realized I wanted the expertise to shape my awareness and began searching for such a path.
From among the various options, finally, I connected with the content of the program that refines that expertise, while letting me explore practices that are not limited to any one research, and the philosophy of learning to find connections with society from a broad perspective, and decided to enroll in GSAIS.
There are two primary reasons why I decided to enroll in Shishu-Kan. The first is that I saw a strong connection between the vision of global human resources, the objective of human resource development at Shishu-Kan, and the future vision I have in mind.
The second is the provision of an educational environment that has no precedent. Examples include students and faculty members with various backgrounds that transcend the framework of humanities and sciences as well as communal living in residential system training facilities that provides opportunities for interaction with people from inside and outside the graduate school. In particular, I wanted to enroll in the Shishu-Kan because I found the above two aspects to be very appealing.
I was an undergraduate student majoring in humanities, but I wanted to go to graduate school and deepen my knowledge. However, going to a graduate school of humanities would limit my future career options. Also, a Master’s program is generally for two years. If I was employed after graduation, time would be taken up by my job search activities in the second year. There is little time to spend on learning. Therefore, I decided to enroll in Shishu-Kan where there are many options after graduation and one can do intensive study over a five year long period.
Firstly, I like the atmosphere of Kyoto City. Kyoto is a city with a very historical atmosphere. I feel very calm here. Also, Kyoto University is situated near Kamogawa River and it would be very pleasant to walk along the riverside when I have time. Furthermore, I am also extremely interested in the curriculum organization of Shishu-Kan. At Shishu-kan, I can not only study my own field but also acquire knowledge in various other fields of study. I enrolled here thinking that by studying here, I would be able to broaden my perspectives.
The academic level at Kyoto University is very high and there are many excellent students who engage in healthy competition with each other. However, rather than aiming for a research position right away, I am thinking of working as an expert in a place like an international organization. I would like to acquire analytical skills at the Kyoto University research laboratory and acquire knowledge as a professional practitioner at Shishu-kan. I decided to enroll in Shishu-Kan in order to immerse myself in a new style of learning.
Originally, I wanted to advance to graduate school. The reason I decided to enroll in GSAIS, rather than pursuing the field I majored in during my undergraduate studies was because of the presence of a cross-disciplinary program and because of a well-established environment that allowed me to make the most of the research that I wanted to engage in. In addition, GSAIS has lectures that are conducted in English as well as an overseas internship in the fourth year, which is in line with my desire to work overseas in the future.
From the time I enrolled in undergraduate studies, I had planned to advance to graduate studies and conduct research to develop high expertise and embody the ideas obtained therein in society. From this point of view I believe the curriculum of GSAIS is designed in such a way that it enables one to acquire expertise and equips students with the skills and knowledge required to be actively engaged in their practical field. It was ideally suited to the path that I had envisioned; so, I decided to enroll.
After graduating from the Faculty of Engineering, I enrolled in the School of Education in my third year, and in the middle of my third year, I learned about Shishu-Kan. The moment I learned about it, I immediately started preparing to take the exam, and at the end of the third year, I dropped out of the School of Education and enrolled in the Shishu-Kan. In particular, I found the curriculum interesting and was fascinated by the system that encouraged me to study through overseas internships and learning in other specialized fields of study called “hasshi”; so, I decided to enroll.
During my undergraduate studies, I was engaged in the specialized research of materials engineering. However, as opportunities to interact with society increase, I have come to feel a strong sense of doubt about whether engaging solely in the field of material engineering will really lead to the solution of the many large-scale social problems that will become even more apparent in the future; so, I decided to enroll in this university.
There has been a change in my sense of values due to an overseas experience during my university days and I wanted to specialize in an area different from the one during my undergraduate studies. As GSAIS is for a continuous period of five years, one can engage in new areas of specialization. Furthermore, as the daily living environment is perfect, I felt I would be able to concentrate fully on learning and so I decided to advance to this university.
After my experience of working as a member of society, I wanted to study again and was initially considering enrolling in an overseas MBA program. However, I started to think that an MBA would just be gaining knowledge from research books and would not be of much use, I learned about the unique program of GSAIS (Shishu-Kan), which fosters global human resources with leadership from a holistic perspective. Since the content exactly matched what I had envisioned, I took the entrance examination and enrolled.
After I graduated from university, I decided to come to study in Japan to deepen my expertise. When I thought about what my strengths were when I came to Japan, I came across Shishu-Kan and was strongly drawn to its philosophy of nurturing global leaders who had a wide range of knowledge and in-depth expertise. Influenced by this, I wanted to be actively engaged in the international community by taking advantage of the ability to speak four languages with expertise. I would like to contribute to the health of mankind in the future.
There are two reasons behind my decision to enroll in Shishu-Kan. The first is the presence of an environment in which I would be able to continue with my research while always thinking about utilizing my research in the real world. I feel that at Shishu-Kan I would be able to acquire methods to utilize what I had learned in society through special lectures and discussions on leadership “jukugi” and internships.
The second was the opportunity to study a variety of disciplines. While I was engaged in my specialized area of study, I thought it would be advantageous for anyone to have knowledge beyond a specific area of study.
Because I thought it was equipped with the environment that provided many opportunities to grow compared to the Graduate School of Public Policy.
Advice to Examinees
When appearing for an examination, it is important to not only have a broad understanding of the content of one’s area of expertise but also have English skills. In the second screening there is also an interview examination, and in order to be able to respond well, it is important to think clearly about your reasons for wanting to enroll.
A balance between undergraduate study and outside studies in the university is as important as preparation before enrolling. If you are negligent of your undergraduate studies and pay too much attention on learning outside the university (internship or study abroad, part-time jobs, clubs, or overseas training), then you might end your undergraduate studies without much substance. However, I also think that your horizons are broadened by interacting with people outside the university and not remaining within the narrow confines of the world of undergraduate and university studies. Rather than thinking about which one is good, I think it is balance that is important. I feel that the philosophy of Shishu-Kan is also the same.
The five-year period will be longer than you would imagine and, in the same manner, shorter. Before you enroll, you should consider how you will spend five years and what career path you want to adopt after the completion of the five-year study. Of course, there is no need to do that. But making your own plan and implementing it during the time you are enrolled in this university is also a kind of training for life.
At GSAIS, you can choose seminars in accordance with your research theme. For this, I think a coherent vision of how to inquire about the awareness of problem within yourself and how to give back to society the ideas that have been gained through your research is also important.
I think it is important to passionately convey the vision inside yourself in the interview, and show you have the will to achieve it, I think life at the Graduate School of Advanced and Integrated Studies in Human Survivability will prove to be very fulfilling.
The fact that you are viewing the home page means that you are at least interested in advancing to a graduate school that is different from your current educational environment and means that you are thinking of taking the path of global leadership, although it is a vague expression, as your future career path. I would like to offer a piece of advice, that is, it is importance to consider everything as a challenge. If you approach anything with this attitude, you will surely be able to gain a vision of the world. In my experience, the regret of not taking up a challenge was greater than the regret caused by the challenge. If you are even a little interested in Shishu-Kan, please visit for a tour and attend the open campus.
What is most important is to think clearly about what you want to do. Shishu-Kan is different from other graduate courses as it encourages a new and innovative study of human survivability. There are more opportunities to study here than in other graduate courses. I think it is very important to understand how to extract aspects that are useful for your growth and to identify whether they are extremely important issues for your research. Certainly, it is required to write about your plans in the application documents. Furthermore, I remember that the faculty members were also highly interested in the future vision of the applicant at the time of the interview.
In the research activities of the Shishu-Kan, problem-solving and interdisciplinary thinking skills are considered important. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the acquisition of specialization in your area of study constitutes the core. At the time of the examination, I think it is extremely important to pen down your research plan including detailed aspects such as what exactly is your core area of specialization, what exactly are the research methods in that field, what kind of problem-solving can you aim for, and how can this interact with other fields of study.
I felt that writing skills were the most important. Also, as knowledge across multiple fields is needed, I think it is important to regularly read various books and absorb knowledge.
At GSAIS, the curriculum is designed keeping in mind the fact that the student will perform actively in a practical field after graduation. For this reason, I think it is important that you give thorough thought to how the research that you want to conduct is placed with respect to the career path you wants to pursue, as well as what you want to learn through the acquisition of knowledge from different fields of study and from practical learning such as internships, before the examination.
What is the most important, I think, is whether you really want to study for five years at the Shishu-Kan. Please visit the training facilities once and let’s talk together! If you strongly feel youwant to enroll here after all, the results will automatically follow.
As there are people who take on the challenge of studying a new field of specialization from graduate school, an in-depth expertise is not necessary during entrance examination. Rather, a certain extent of proficiency in foreign language use, including English, is essential. As the examination questions are different from those asked in general entrance examinations for graduate school, it is strongly recommended that one obtains this information before the exam. Then, it is important to be clear about your future career path and what you want to become.
It is recommended that you enroll in this graduate school with a clear future vision, that you have thought of what is required in the world today and what you want to engage in, and have thought to a a certain extent of the career path you want to take after graduation.
For those who have a deep love for learning and the desire to improve themselves and are aware of their future vision of contributing to society, I think it will be an extremely fruitful five-year doctoral program.
First, I think it is important to be clear about what you want to do in the future. Upon enrolling in the Shishu-Kan, it is important to constantly examine what you can learn through the Shishu-Kan curriculum and how you can build your future with this as the base. As it is a place where the individual’s ability to judge and to take action are essential, given the high level of flexibility, it is important to give serious thought to each and every aspect.
What is the most important when appearing for the examination is to think about what you want to do in the future and to narrow down the research theme as a means of practically implementation. In the written exam, you will be required to have an undergraduate level of knowledge of one’s specialized study area, but I think the level studied during your undergraduate days will be enough. It is important to think what you wants to do and what your approach toward it is, and to ascertain that, Shishu-Kan is the ideal place where this approach can be put into practice.
About learning and research
I myself am conducting research activities based on experiments in the laboratory, and in addition to this, there are lectures at GSAIS, making each day really eventful. However, as a result, I can actually experience individual growth every day through interactions with faculty members and peers in different fields, and I am able to live a fulfilling daily life. As there is enough time to spend on hobbies, I am able to live with good stimulation.
I thought that graduate school was a kind of extension of university life, but it was actually really busy and, although it is a matter of course, I had more time to think about my specialized studies. It is difficult to balance the learning at Shishu-kan and one’s specialized areas of study. Also, I think those of us who have the mission of establishing GSAIS will be recognized only after we make more (rather double) efforts than the students of the research laboratory with which we are associated. In proportion to this, I work hard as I believe that there will be future benefits with the development of a broad perspective including being able to relate my expertise with social issues.
The number of lectures that you needs to take as a graduate student may be more than that in other graduate schools. Also, there are many students who voluntarily attend the lectures held in each department. Hence, you will not only advance in your research but by continuing with your research and listening to lectures of different fields of study, you will be able to conduct research while simultaneously thinking of the significance of the research. This can be useful in the long run because it leads to awareness of how it is related to your own life.
I think the specific feature is that, although the number of credits that must be obtained is a lot, you can also acquire an in-depth education. Regarding studying in GSAIS, I think it is important not to lose sight of yourself as there is a lot that is left to the students, whether this is good or bad. If you are clear about what you want to do at graduate school, and you go ahead with the spirit of utilizing the system of the graduate school to achieve it, it is the best environment to improve your abilities. The important things are the independence, the ability to take action, and a strong will.
I would like to speak about what I felt in the first two months of my enrollment in Shishu-Kan. I spent most of my time apart from lecture-time in the laboratory as I was associated with the research laboratory of experimental systems in science. Furthermore, as I had started research from a graduate school about a field that I had not studied until then, I am currently very busy each day with the acquisition of basic knowledge and conducting experiments. I have a great sense of fulfillment as I am studying in an environment where I am able to receive an education that matches my interests, and I am glad I enrolled in this school.
We conduct research in a new academic field called “Human Survivability.” Research is required to be interdisciplinary and innovative, while simultaneously maintaining one’s area of specialization as the core. Hence, I feel there are a lot of difficulties. However, on the other hand, the environment provided for research is truly a blessing. For example, there is support from multiple professors and funding assistance for research. This is unthinkable in other graduate schools.
In Shishu-Kan, as there are many students from different fields of study, you can sharpen your research by actively interacting with students, and there is a high likelihood that new research ideas will emerge. For example, when I introduce my research to students in different fields, I always think that I need to explain things comprehensively. Through this explanation, I also develop new awareness with respect to my research. In addition, advice is often received from other people, leading me to think of new, interesting aspects of research.
To continue to conduct research in your area of expertise, while advancing with the curriculum at Shishu-Kan, requires a certain toughness I believe. You may feel that it is difficult, but if you remember that it is an investment for your future, it becomes enjoyable. If you have the ability to think of things in a slightly optimistic way and to take things positively, I think you can gain much more.
Special lectures and discussions on leadership or “jukugi,” in which lecturers are invited from all walks of life, are a unique aspect of Shishu-Kan. They provide students with not only talks and discussions that will help them to live as a member of society but also valuable experience through dialog, which cannot be obtained by ordinary lectures or study sessions. Also, the faculty members of GSAIS are all representatives of each area of research, and discussions with such faculty members are full of suggestions as well as very stimulating. The research environment is also very well equipped and students can concentrate on their research.
It is different from usual graduate schools, and through lectures and community living in the training facilities, you gets a lot of opportunities to come in contact with people from diverse disciplines. Also, there are many opportunities to meet front-runners in various fields, and I feel that it is a place for learning where you can broaden your perspective which is very stimulating. However, as the time you can spend for research gets limited due to above circumstances, the curriculum requires you to work very hard. I think the environment provided here, if utilized well, will also be a plus for your research.
Here, you get an environment which deepens the daily interaction among students from different fields of study and it provides great opportunities to review your research. Specifically, if you are confined to your own field of expertise, you will gradually lose sight of what is fundamental and essential in your research, and there are times when you tends to see only the detailed aspects toward the end. At times like these, I am asked by my peers from completely different fields of expertise, “What does that mean? What is its significance?” Due to this, you can often reflect upon and deepen your understanding of your research; from this viewpoint, the environment provided is unlike any other.
I think it is a blessing to be able to acquire such a place that provides opportunities for interaction unlike any other. There is undoubtedly a perfect environment for research that you cannot complain about.
Studying at Shishu-kan is probably different from studying at any other graduate school. I am glad to be able to engage in friendly competition with respected and competent senior students and colleagues who are reliable and well-mannered.
In “hasshi” you can study from humanities, sociology, health and medical care, and cultural aspects of Japan, including tea ceremony, and can acquire comprehensive “Japanese skills,” as well as learn through internships in Japan and overseas for the purpose of “social implementation.” These are all classes where top faculty of industry leaders are invited. You can truly learn and conduct research about things that are important for leadership in the Japanese society. I believe that the joy of being able to prepare classes with excitement and to present what I have learned is because of the “enterprising atmosphere” that the faculty and students of the Shishu-Kan facilitate.
As for my research, I usually work with other graduate students in the research laboratory, so it is not so different from regular graduate students. The results that can be achieved depend on the efforts of the person in question. Because you have to study in a different field as well as in your specialized area of study, the schedule is very tough. Therefore, a creativity to improve the efficiency of your research and study is required.
I think studying at Shishu-kan can be described in one word, “busy.” I feel that you have to concentrate on not only research but also on special lectures and discussions about leadership or “jukugi” and other lectures; in addition, the amount of content is more than other graduate schools. However, it is not an unmanageable amount. I think adequate support is provided by professors and sufficient support is provided in the daily-life environment as well.