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Young Women of OU Challenge the World

These Seven Young Women are a Symbol of the OU Spirit

President Hirano: It looks like those who passed through the final selection for “Tobitate! Study Abroad” were all young women! (laughs) The young women here at OU are quite strong. I have high hopes for all of you who are about to challenge the world as representatives of Osaka University. Today, I’d like to ask you about your goals for your time studying abroad, as well as your dreams for the future. Let’s start with some simple self-introductions.

Eriko Aikawa: I’m a 5th year student in the Faculty of Medicine. I was chosen for the “Natural Sciences Cross-Disciplinary Course.” I’m going to be studying for 3 months in Kings College London in the UK starting next January, and I plan to study practice in the Genetic Dermatology Group. I’ll use the period of my spring holiday and clinical clerkship to study abroad.

Konatsu Saito: I’m a 3rd year student in the School of Foreign Studies, currently majoring in Burmese. I will be studying abroad at the Burmese Language Department of the University of Foreign Studies, Yangon in Myanmar for 10 months starting this December in the “Emerging Economies Course.”

Miyu Hirano: I’m a 3rd year student in the School of Foreign Studies, majoring in Russian. I’ll also be studying in the “Emerging Economies Course” for 12 months starting in August. I’ll be studying at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications of Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. After that, I plan on volunteering in Uzbekistan at the Rishdan Japan Center performing such grassroots exchange as Japanese language education for 1 month.

Hiromi Mori: I’m a 3rd year English major at the School of Foreign Studies. I’ll be studying for 9 months at the Department of Communication of the School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the USA starting this September in the “World-Leading Institutions Course.”

Hitomi Tsushima: I’m a 3rd year student at the School of Law, currently studying in the Department of International Public Policy. I’ll be studying at the Faculty of Social Sciences of McMaster University in Canada for 8 months starting in September as an exchange student.

Saran Nakajima: I’m also a 3rd year student in the Department of International Public Policy at the School of Law. I plan to study as an exchange student at either the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia or the Department of International Studies at Texas A&M for 1 year.

Shiori Kitaoka: I’m a 2nd year graduate student in the master’s program at the Graduate School of Letters. I’m also a graduate of the German department of the School of Foreign Studies. I’ll be studying for 11 months starting this September at the German Literature Department at the University of Hamburg’s Faculty of Humanities. During that time, I’ll also be working as an intern for Bluespots Productions, a theater company.


What You'll Learn During Your Time Abroad

President Hirano: The origin of Osaka University is OGATA Koan’s Tekijuku. And now, we strive for the realization of a “World Tekijuku” where people from all over the world can gather and exchange ideas, while also aiming for the creation of harmonious diversity through scholarship. I believe that you all can experience something similar to this through the challenge you are about to undertake. So let me ask you, what kind of dreams do you have looking forward to your time studying abroad?

Ms. Aikawa: I’m in the MD Researcher Development Program, a program that nurtures medical researchers to carve out the future of medical treatment. The reason I chose King’s College London is because I wanted to learn from their advanced research/treatment system, which involves cooperation between hospital and research center, as well as doctors and researchers.

Ms. Saito: My major is Burmese, so I felt that I could be able to speak it more fluently by studying in Myanmar. In addition, I hear news about a democratization taking place through the military government, but I’d like to see what the situation is in the country with my own eyes. Also, the Burmese name given to me in my Burmese class is similar to the name of a well-known politician, Aung San Suu Kyi, so maybe I can meet her. (laughs) I love Asia, so I hope I can get a job that has to do with Southeast Asia in the future.

Ms. Hirano: I’m studying journalism at Saint Petersburg State University because I’ve always had an interest in international cooperation, and I had a focus on the fact that in many developing nations, the voice of the people never reaches the government. I save up money from my part-time job and take trips overseas every year, going to places like the UK and Bangladesh. The reason I chose Russia as my destination for studying abroad is because I’m interested in Central Asia and the Chechen War.

Ms. Mori: I looked for a study abroad location where I could learn about communication. Even in the School of Foreign Studies at OU, there are subjects related to communication, but I was really blown away by the energy that I’ve received from the students while working as a supporter for international students from the University of California. I thought it would be great to be able to study at such a lively university, while passing on what I learned to my university and society in the future.

Ms. Tsushima: I’m mainly interested in international relations, and I’ve studied about wars in the Department of International Public Policy, so in Canada, I wanted to focus on studying about peace. Canada is a country where people emigrate from many different places and hold many different opinions and ways of thinking, making it sort of a racial mosaic. I’m really excited to be able to study at a university in a country like that, and hopefully I can broaden my horizons and learn more about peace.

Ms. Nakajima: In 2010, when I was still in high school, I was dispatched as a Japanese youth for the “Peace Celebration Art Mile MURAMID Exhibit” in Cairo, Egypt. I really enjoyed the exhibit and was completely mesmerized. Currently, I’m studying regional disputes in my seminar, but I’d like to contribute to Middle East peace-building efforts, such as those in Palestine, in the future. Because the United States has quite a bit of influence in the Middle East, I’d like to learn about US foreign policy at an American university.

Ms. Kitaoka: When I thought about how my German ability could act as a tool for things that I was able to do, I decided to enter the Department of Theater Studies, headed by Professor ICHIKAWA Akira, who researches modern German theater, and I learn about theory and practice of theater. Also, in February of this year, I participated in an International Multimedia Theater Project, which took place in Augsburg, Germany, and included tasks such as subtitles and serving as a staff member for the 3 theater troupes from Germany, the USA, and Japan. The piece performed by Professor ICHIKAWA, which was a combination of modern and Noh theater, was positively received, and it was through that experience that I felt I could use theater as a means for cultural exchange, so I decided to train at a theater company while studying at a university in Germany.

More Intercultural Experiences for OU Students

President Hirano: All of you seem to be on the right track, and I can count on you to do great things. You all have had many international experiences even before this study abroad you are about to undertake, and I feel that with students like you, OU can definitely reach its goal of becoming a top 10 world university. By the way, why did you all decide to apply for the “Tobitate! Study Abroad” program? What do you think should be done in order for more OU students to study abroad?

Ms. Mori: I thought that because I am in the first class of the “Tobitate! Study Abroad” program, I could do something new. On top of that, financial support such as scholarships were also a huge incentive.

Ms. Saito: A characteristic of students in the School of Foreign Studies is that their eagerness to study overseas is quite strong. If there were some kind of connection that could span schools and campuses, then perhaps more students, including the male student population, would apply.

Ms. Kitaoka: For this application, it seems like I was in the Office of International Affairs and the School of Letters every week, so I want to thank them for all of the help they gave me. It seems a waste not to study abroad under this system, since there is so much staff and financial support that can be utilized. I think it would be great if more students knew about this kind of support. It’s a bit scary going to study overseas, but I can’t help but be excited about all of the things I’ll gain from it.

Reaching for Your Dreams

President Hirano: It seems like everyone’s seriousness towards studying abroad is quite different. You can get all kinds of knowledge on campus at Osaka University, but as they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Getting a different point of view from going overseas and seeing the ways of thinking and the kinds of things that await you is very important. No matter what field you decide to pursue in the future, I want you to determine the true essence of things through acquiring various points of view. It’s important not only for your future, but for the society of future generations. Even if something is thought to be impossible, if you keep at it, you can make the impossible possible. I think you can all achieve your dreams, so I hope you will all do your best.

Recruitment for the second class will take place at the beginning of October. I encourage you all to spread the word so that many students, including the male student population, will apply and be accepted to this program.

All: Thank you!

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