• Sakina

    from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    1st year, Global Studies Major
    MRSM Terengganu,



    I understand you were studying in Japan before you came to Ritsumeikan University. Why did you decide to come and study in Japan?

    I love Japanese culture- I have been exposed to Japanese culture etc. for many years through my father’s business partner who is Japanese. He often brought me presents from Japan, like manga. I wanted to learn more about Japan and experience it first hand, so I decided I would come to Japan to study Japanese, and I then entered a language school in Tokyo.

    The Torii at Fushimi Inari shrine
    The Torii at Fushimi Inari shrine

    Why did you decide to apply to the GS major at RU?

    In the future, I am interested in a job that is very international. I’m hoping for a job in the Malaysian Embassy in Japan or in the UN, but whatever I end up doing- whether working as a diplomat or in business or whatever- negotiations and discussions will all be held in English. So studying in English is going to be a real advantage in future. The GS major is the kind of course I was looking for: it is flexible and covers a wide range of areas- students can study politics, environment, development etc. Plus, I really wanted to study in the Kansai area! I love Kansai people and I definitely want to learn Kansai dialect, so a university in Kyoto, the heart of Japanese history, seemed the best choice!

    How are the Japanese courses of the GS Major?

    My Japanese class is Japanese Level A, the highest level. I have to work hard for the class, but we are learning lots of useful things, like business Japanese and how to write reports. Business Japanese is really hard, but I want to work for a Japanese business in future, so this will be really good preparation. I also hope to take some regular classes in Japanese next year, so studying how to write reports is going to be helpful.

    The Global Studies end of year party
    The Global Studies end of year party

    How much study do you have to do?

    With all the assignments and reading we have to do for all the classes, I am quite busy. I tend to do most of my study at university, as when I am at home it is easier to get distracted, by the internet or TV. Most weekdays I will be in university the whole day. I tend to study either in the library, or in the College of International Relations student lounge. We have a lot of group assignments, and the IR lounge is really good for working on those.

    At a Thai restaurant with friends
    At a Thai restaurant with friends

    What is your favorite class?

    My favorite class is Introduction to the United Nations. As I am in interested in working for the UN, this subject is really essential for me. Professor Hatcher, who takes the class, is really informative. Apart from covering what is written in the syllabus, we have had opportunities to get a feel for what it is like to work at the UN. Last Saturday, for example, we had a conference with a UNHCR Officer in Tunisia via Skype. He gave a talk about refugees and asylum-seekers and some solutions for dealing with these issues. We got to ask him many questions, particularly about the asylum-seeker problem in Japan and about the ups and downs in his time working with the UN. It was very much an eye-opening and unique experience for me.

    How are you finding life in Kyoto?

    It’s awesome! I love the history, the temples and the shrines. It is a really beautiful city. I have found that people in Kyoto- in both the area around my accommodation and in the wider city- are so friendly and helpful. Kyoto is also a convenient place to live- it is not too big, so easy to get around. There is also a Mosque and a sizeable Muslim community in Kyoto, so from a religious point of view, it is easy to live here, too.

    Enjoying the autumnal leaves with friends at Arashiyama
    Enjoying the autumnal leaves with friends at Arashiyama