Studying in Japan/Japanese
Ritsumeikan University Studying in Japan : My Story “There is no single right or wrong choice, and how you make use of your time in Japan will eventually shape your personal study-abroad experience.”日本で学ぶ・日本を学ぶ vol.13
シリーズ13回目は立命館大学の政策科学部CRPS（Community and Regional Policy Studies, CRPS）専攻を修了した、シンガポール出身のコー・ ジャミンさんです。現在は株式会社ケセラセラでマーケティングや海外営業を担当しています。
Name: Ms. Koh Jia Min
“There is no single right or wrong choice, and how you make use of your time in Japan will eventually shape your personal study-abroad experience.”
Currently working as Marketing and Overseas Sales at Queserser & Company, Tokyo Office.
– Primary School: Pasir Ris Primary School (Singapore）
– Secondary and Junior College: Dunman High School (Singapore)
– Undergraduate: Ritsumeikan University (Japan)
Q. What led you to be interested in Japan itself?
I watched my first Japanese live-action movie “Death Note” when I was 12 years old, which got me interested in learning about the Japanese language and culture. Having had the opportunity to take Japanese as a Third Language in Ministry of Education Language Centre (MOELC)*, I decided to pursue the Japanese language as a part of my studies in secondary school and high school. While I was in MOELC, I had opportunities to interact with many like-minded people and enjoyed activities such as sushi-making and summer festivals. It fostered my interest in Japan and I knew that I wanted to live there someday.
* The Ministry of Education Language Centre (MOELC) is a centralized educational institution for students in Singapore’s education system to learn additional languages.
Q. What is the strength of the university course that you enrolled in? Why did you choose to study there?
I was in the Community and Regional Policy Studies Major (College of Policy Science) at Ritsumeikan University. This is an English-taught Bachelor course, and many classes provide an on-site research component so we have a variety of opportunities to conduct fieldworks in Japan and even overseas. I chose to study in this course as I felt that it should fulfill my strong interest in policy issues ranging from urban planning to governance, especially in the context of Japan. The support of scholarships that I received from Ritsumeikan University and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Scholarship Foundation was one of the reasons to study there.
Q. What was your biggest challenge in Japan?
I found it challenging to do job hunting in Japan. Most of the interviews required group discussions, where we had to present our arguments to the interviewers within the given time. While I was relatively fluent in Japanese, I was mostly studying in an English-based course in my university time, so it was nearly my first time doing discussions fully in Japanese. At times, I struggled to express myself in a coherent and succinct way, and did not feel confident about presenting my ideas to other Japanese students.
Q. What was your first impression of Japan? How did it change?
To be honest, there was not much of a change in my impression of Japan before and after I completed my study in Japan. If I had to pick up one, while Japanese universities have many student-initiated activities and many students are involved in various outside activities such as clubs and circles, this sometimes result in students’ lack of focus in their actual studies. In my private time, sometimes I saw people leaving their phones on the table while going somewhere else, which I could hardly imagine happening in other countries. There were several occasions when I misplaced my valuables in public places, but surprisingly I have always gotten them back.
Q. What is your current job position and actual areas of work?
I am working at Queserser & Company, a design company, and I am currently based in Tokyo. I do not have a fixed job scope, but I am mainly dealing with marketing and overseas sales related projects. I plan to move to the Singapore office in my company from next April. By doing so, I can contribute to my own country using my skills gained in Japan.
Q. How has learning Japanese and studying in Japan helped you so far in your job? What made you finally decide to take this current job?
Having proficient Japanese language skills is crucial in my current job as not only I have to communicate with my colleagues but also to Japanese external clients as well. My experience of studying in Japan allowed me to prepare myself for such work culture in Japan without any nasty surprises. I decided to take my current job as it was in an industry which I had interest in and there were many interesting personalities in the company whom I can learn a lot from.
Q. Any message to students in Singapore who are interested to study in Japan?
Some of you may feel hesitant to take that step to study in Japan as it is not a conventional option for Singaporeans. Yet I believe that there is no single right or wrong choice, and how you make use of your time in Japan will eventually shape your personal study-abroad experience. Of course, living away from home may not be easy, and there may be some days when you feel discouraged. In such times, I tried to look around and remember why I made that decision to come to Japan in the first place. Then I realized that there were friends I could rely on in good times and bad times. Despite it all, do take a look around you and remember why you made that decision to come to Japan in the first place. Study hard, but don’t forget to have fun with your friends!
Visit the pages to read about other students studying in University of Tokyo, Nagoya University, ICU and more!