from Northampton, UK
1st year, Global Studies Major
Northampton School for Boys,
What were you doing before coming to Japan?
When I finished secondary school in the UK, I decided not to go to university straight away. I really wanted to travel and see new places. I did some travelling and then ended up working for an NGO in Vietnam for three years.
Why did you then decide to go to university?
Through my work in Vietnam, I started to get a clear idea about the kind of job I wanted to have in the future, something like charity work, or working for an NGO. After investigating things and speaking to people including my boss, I came to the conclusion that the direction I was going would be easier having a university degree. I also thought that going to university would enable me to develop more specific subject knowledge, skills and expertise which will definitely be useful in the future.
Why did you choose Ritsumeikan University?
I had decided that I didn’t want to go to university in the UK, so I was looking round for courses taught in English in other countries. One day online, I came across an advert for the GS program, and so I went to have a look at the RU page. When I saw the course content and read about what I would be able to study, it really clicked with me. Not many of the other programs I had looked into in the past had really interested me, but GS looked just right!
What class are you most enjoying?
Introduction to Politics is really interesting. We don’t use specific textbooks, instead we spend a lot of time talking, discussing concepts and ideas within politics, looking particularly at how politics relates to us personally. The professor thinks that this is the best way for us share ideas and knowledge rather than just relying on textbooks. We are also creating a class blog- we each have to write four 500-word entries per semester about things we discuss in class and also comment on other students’ entries. It is a really interesting way of sharing ideas.
Any other interesting classes?
Introduction to Peace Studies with Professor Yamane is always thought provoking. We have had a number of really interesting visitors to the class, such as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. She has also encouraged us to attend seminars at the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, where I have been able to hear a talk from a Palestinian lady about the troubles there that had devastated her hometown. The classes really make you reflect on exactly what ‘peace’ is.
What is different about life in Japan?
From living in the south of Vietnam for three years I have welcomed the change of seasons here from summer, autumn and winter (so far) much more than I used in England! Hot every day for three years, and to be cold again is great! Just waiting for the snow…!