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Alumni Interview (2015 inbound: Universitas Gadjah Mada)

Mr. Faris Rachmadyo Nugroho was an AIMS student for the 2015 spring semester, during which he studied in the College of Policy Science. He graduated from Universitas Gadjah Mada, majoring in Accounting. He is currently working as public accountant in Jakarta.

Why did you choose to study at Ritsumeikan University?

I thought Ritsumeikan University was good place to study abroad. When I searched on the internet, I found that former Minister of Trade, Mr. Rachmat Gobel also studied abroad in Japan. When I looked for more information, I found out that Ritsumeikan University was a good private university in Japan.

Can you tell us more about the PBL course you took in Ritsumeikan?

I thought it was unique and offered many lessons to be learned. We learned culture, how to socialize, and what to pay attention to in society in order to live in harmony. I had a class named Game Simulation Method where we played a simulated game, where we were in a plane crash and had to survive with certain equipment. This simulation was a real-life representation of what we need to be useful for others and so on.

Can you tell us what you remember about the courses and what you studied?

I studied Gaming Simulation Method, International PBL Seminar , International Business, International Industry, International Accounting, International Strategic Management, and Constitutional Law.

Were you involved in any other activities besides the regular academic classes?

TISA, a student association that supports international students, held various international exchange events and I was able to get to know a lot of people and extracurricular activities. I joined the tennis club and cultural events with international students.

What did you like about Japan, especially Osaka, the city you lived in? Any interesting experiences?

Food! Japanese food is expensive in Indonesia but we can have a nice meal at a reasonable price in Japan. It felt authentic to eat things such as spicy wasabi, natto, etc. I think Osaka, the second largest city in Japan, is like the Surabaya of Japan. There are many skyscrapers and modern buildings. The people are open, willing to talk, and polite even though they look busy.

What did you enjoy about your time here at Ritsumeikan University, and did it help you to decide your next step?

I met many people from America, France, New Zealand, China, and others. I learned how to become a part of global society and what to pay attention to when dealing with people from other countries. I also visited companies that gave me great experiences. The lecturers were competent. The lecturer on International Industry gave a lot of advice on how to be able to work well, be professional, and build relations.

How has your study at Ritsumeikan affected your life now?

I became more confident. I was able to meet many people, transfer knowledge, and realize that we can develop all what we get. When I was a student, I was reserved, but after I went to Ritsumeikan, I became more open and brave, because there were many presentations in class with English, so my English ability also improved. I discovered myself further and became more aware of the surrounding environment / global environment.

Do you have any advice for new or prospective PBL students next semester?

Prepare your English, in order to get along with other international students. Be open, do not be afraid to interact with people who are different from you, start a conversation. Take advantage of the buddy system to get a lot of information about the campus, facilities, extracurricular activities, and lecturers. Do not be afraid to travel. If you have money and time, it is the time to travel.


Alumni Interview (2015 inbound: Universitas Indonesia)

Ms. Devi Risca was an AIMS student for the 2015 spring semester, during which she studied in the College of International Relations. She graduated from Universitas Indonesia in 2016, majoring in English Literature Studies. She is currently working at a start-up company in Jakarta.

Can you tell us more about the PBL course you took in Ritsumeikan?

I had this one class named Global Simulation Gaming which was very interesting. We were presented with a case of indigenous people in an area who were affected by forced technology changes in their living environment. We played the role of NGO members who defended them. We practiced a lot of debates, lobbying, and even demonstrations. At the end of semester, we were gathered in a big hall, with students from other classes, and each of the classes had a role to play. We had to walk around the hall, speak our thoughts and interests, and defend our positions based on the role we played. Most of the students there I had just met that day, yet I had to come to them to debate. It was very challenging but really fun!

Were you involved in any other activities besides the regular academic classes?

I joined two clubs: photography club and dance club. I was the only foreigner in the photography club, but everyone was very welcoming. They would translate the notes and speeches to English for me. We did photo-hunting sessions around Kyoto and Nara. In my free time I also liked to walk around town with my good friend from Thailand.

What did you like about Japan, especially Kyoto, the city you lived in? Any interesting experiences?

I love it very much, and I miss it a lot. Kyoto was very clean and peaceful. I often got lost in the streets, walking by myself at night, but I felt safe. The friendliness of the people was beyond comparison. One time on a hot summer day I was standing at the bus stop alone, when a lady suddenly shared her umbrella with me. Another time when I asked for directions, the person escorted me to the destination instead. My landlord lent me a winter jacket and gave me a pair of rubber boots. I also spent the fasting month of Ramadan and Eid in Kyoto. 

How has your study at Ritsumeikan affected your life now?

Before coming to Japan, I used to be a quiet student who wasn’t too active in class. At Ritsumeikan, I was encouraged to speak up. The discussion sessions were always intense and lively, especially in smaller classes. The students were very enthusiastic as everybody had to give opinions, and the lecturers would listen carefully and appreciate your thoughts. Now I have become more confident in speaking and expressing my mind.
I also made new friends from Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, America, and also Japan. When the Japanese AIMS students came to Indonesia, we arranged a meet up and traveled to popular spots in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Very exciting!
I used to have no plan to continue my study after undergraduate studies, but now I am motivated to pursue a master’s degree. I am following the latest news regarding Japan and Indonesia to find inspirations for a research topic. Hopefully I can come back to Japan soon!

Do you have any advice for new or prospective AIMS students next semester?

I am lucky and really grateful to have this experience. Please make the most of your time, utilize it well. Make new friends not only with fellow foreigners but also with local Japanese people. Participate in activities outside class, do not hesitate just because you cannot speak Japanese. Bring souvenirs from your home country.



AY2017 completion ceremony held for AIMS program students

On Thursday, July 6 and Thursday, July 13, completion ceremonies were held for 26 AIMS students from Thailand and Indonesia who studied at Ritsumeikan in spring 2017. There were a total of 40 participants who attended these events, including Japanese students who will soon study abroad in Thailand or Indonesia, the Resident Mentor of a shared apartment, and faculty members.

The ceremony at Osaka Ibaraki Campus began with remarks from Associate Professor Yusuke Toyoda from the College of Policy Science, who then presented a completion certificate to each student. Next, the representative for the AIMS students gave a short address about what he learned and achieved at Ritsumeikan while looking back on various memories and adventures, and expressed his gratitude for the support he received while studying abroad. The students also gave a performance with guitars and violins during the ceremony.

The ceremony at Kinugasa Campus began with congratulatory remarks from Professor Ryoji Nakagawa from the College of International Relations, after which he presented completion certificates to the international students. The AIMS representative gave a short speech about what she noticed and learned during her time in the program and the many unforgettable memories, occasionally mixing in phrases in Japanese.

The completion ceremony at each campus was followed by a reception, where the students enjoyed their final moments with each other amidst the sadness of parting.

In fall 2017, 24 students from Ritsumeikan will study abroad in Thailand and Indonesia. We hope they use their achievements and connections with Thai and Indonesian students to make the most out of their study abroad experiences.


International Exchange through Homestays with Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School

With the goal of deepening the relationship between partner schools through international exchange, the Ritsumeikan University International Center at the Osaka Ibaraki Campus (OIC) arranged a homestay program from Friday, July 7 – Friday, July 9 with international students from Ritsumeikan University and students from Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School (Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture).

Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School is a partner school of the Ritsumeikan Trust and offers a Ritsumeikan course in its curriculum to support students who wish to enroll at Ritsumeikan University or Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in the future through a recommendation-based entrance examination. After the establishment of OIC, exchange between the schools began in FY2016, with Ritsumeikan University sending international students to participate in Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior High School’s English Immersion Camp via the Office of Integrated Primary and Secondary Education and the International Center at OIC.

As a partner school of Ritsumeikan, Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School seeks ways to further international and English education through their partnership with the university. As a part of these efforts, they sought to create new cooperation between Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan and OIC, which is the closest of Ritsumeikan University’s campus in terms of distance and also includes being a “Gateway to Asia” as one if its main concepts. Plans for exchange centered on a field trip, as Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan is located in Sakai City, which is famous for its craftsmanship in the manufacture of things such as knives, and it was decided that it would be a valuable experience for international students at Ritsumeikan to experience such craftsmanship first-hand with Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan students and their families. Additionally, because Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan has experience in welcoming international students of their own, there are many families who are willing to conduct homestays, which led to the final program involving both a field trip and homestay.

Eight international students from Ritsumeikan University participated in the homestay, including degree-seeking students from China and short-term study abroad students from Thai and Indonesia taking part in Ritsumeikan’s Global PBL Program for Innovative Mind and Intelligence, which was accepted as part of the FY2013 Re-Inventing Japan Project. Each student stayed with a junior or senior high school student from Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School and their families.

On Friday, July 7, after a brief meeting at Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School, the students and families departed to begin their homestays. The following day, the participants took a tour of the Sakai HAMONO Museum and learned about the traditional blades made in Sakai City. The rest of the homestay program was free for each family to plan, and activities included cooking takoyaki and other Japanese foods, visiting parks and museums in Sakai City, and playing games together.


When asked about her homestay experience, an international student from Thailand seemed very happy with it, saying, “I felt very welcome and could tell that they were very happy to have me stay at their home. It was a short time, but I felt like part of the family.”

Another student added, “My host family took me to local tourist spots such as a local temple and show. I liked that they took me to local places instead of big tourist attractions because I was able to visit beautiful local spots that I would not have noticed otherwise and learn much more about Japan.”

Comments from the homestay families included, “It was difficult for us to speak in English, but we were happy that we were still able to communicate” and “I’m glad that the international student got along well with the children. We would love to do this again if we have the chance.”

With the success of this homestay program, the International Center at OIC plans to continue coordinating opportunities such as homestays and home visits to facilitate cultural exchange between international students and Japanese families. The International Center also intends to continue seeking new opportunities for exchange with Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School and other partner institutions.


Study Abroad Life in a Shared Apartment

The International Center at Ritsumeikan University provides various types of housing to international students. In the 2017 spring semester, a few AIMS students have been staying in a shared apartment at Oak Town Higashi Ibaraki. Here is a story from one of the residents.


Story of Mr. Muhammad Anggada Putra Prabowo, Universitas Indonesia

This is the first time I have lived with roommates, especially roommates from different countries. My roommates are Mr. Nuthep Piriyapong from Thailand and Mr. Katsuya Mizuguchi from Japan. I enjoy my life at Oak Town Higashi Ibaraki, because I have roommates who share the same interest with me, which is music. I am also so grateful that I have a Japanese roommate. He is so helpful. He has helped make my life easier since the first month I lived here.
Living together also makes our living costs relatively lower than usual because we can share a lot of things together. The hardest and the most challenging part is that we have to respect each other and adapt our behavior so that we do not bother each other. Because of that, I have tried to change my behavior and emotions a bit. For example, when we use shared things, we make sure that they are clean after we use them. When we have problems like difficult homework, financial problems, etc., we try to help each other. When someone gets angry or makes me angry, I will try to understand the circumstances because we have different backgrounds and we cannot force our norms onto others. This will indirectly improve myself to become a better version of me. My life here is more wonderful than I expected before coming. What a great experience!

This photo was taken in mid-April when our Japanese friend, Yuta, came to our room. Nook cooked Thai food for us. On that day, Katsuya had not yet come to our room .

A relaxed time in the living room in late June



A warm welcome to the AY2017 AIMS students!

On March 13 - 15 and March 22 - 23, 26 exchange students from Thailand and Indonesia beginning their study abroad in spring 2017 arrived in Japan. In the following week, students attended orientation for new international students and learned about living in Japan and campus life at Ritsumeikan. They also attended a course registration guidance session, where they had a briefing about registration procedures for their respective colleges and about learning through the PBL program. Afterwards, they enjoyed exchange with local students who will start or who have completed study abroad in Thailand or Indonesia.

We hope all 26 students will have a healthy and rewarding study abroad experience here in Japan.


Alumni Interviews (2014 inbound: Thammasat University)

We talked to Ms. Kingfa Nisayoung and Ms. Thanyarat Suvannavong, former exchange students from Thammasat University who studied Policy Science in the AIMS program from May to July in 2014 about their time at Ritsumeikan University, and how their studying abroad has enabled them to develop their abilities to pursue their aspirations.

Why did you choose to study at Ritsumeikan University?

We previously joined a workshop which was held on Kinugasa campus in Kyoto in 2014. Kyoto is a mixture of modern and traditional culture and inspired us a lot.

Can you tell us what you remember about the courses and what you studied?

We studied Economics, Introduction to Policy Science, Biology and English.
We were told by professors that we need to constantly improve our proficiency in English.

What did you enjoy about your time here at Ritsumeikan University, and did it help you to decide your next step?

We enjoyed international communication with classmates from Japan,  China, South Korea, Indonesia and Pakistan. We still keep in contact with our Japanese friends. In studying with people of various cultural backgrounds, we learned valuable communication skills which motivated us to study abroad in Japan one more time.

What are you doing now?

We are working as Researcher Assistants at Thammasat University, and also currently visiting scholars at Ritsumeikan University. We are interested in master programs in the field of Economics in Japan.

Do you have any advice for AIMS students who will start their study abroad this spring?

Our advice is to prepare well for your daily life, get motivated to study in Japan, and keep that motivation after you return to your home country!


International PBL Seminar in AY2016 held

International PBL (Problem/Project-based Learning) Seminar in 2016, like its previous years, welcomed participants from three countries; Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. The highlight of this year is that there were up to eight students from Indonesia (Institut Teknologi Bandung and Universitas Indonesia), which doubled from last year. Including students from Thammasat university and Ritsumeikan university, PBL class this year is made up of 18 students, making class discussions and presentations even more lively.

After lectures and group presentations by the students in the class, students conducted a field survey at the end of the semester at one of the oldest communities in Kyoto - Kiyamachi and Ponto-cho. Situating at the very heart of Kyoto city, both places boost as commercial and cultural area since the early Edo period. The theme of the survey is how the community in Ponto-cho preserved its landscape and environment as well as solved problems that occurred amid economic and social change. We are honored to have a guest lecture from Ponto-cho City Planning Forum who provided us knowledge and insights about the community, followed by a walking tour in that area and interview survey. Last but not least, thanks to their brilliant team work and media skills, students came up with a colorful 15-minuite video clip.




AIMS social gathering held at Kinugasa campus!

On Sunday, May 22nd, an AIMS social gathering for inbound and outbound students was held at Kinugasa campus. The event was planned, organized and operated by local students who studied abroad in Indonesia or Thailand last year.

The first session featured the study abroad reports from participants at Chulalongkorn University and Institut Teknologi Bandung. They presented about their achievements, things that surprised them in a traditional event, and difficulties they faced in daily life in English.

The second session consisted of university presentations from Indonesian and Thai students. They introduced their home universities to local students; Universitas Indonesia, Thammasat University, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Chulalongkorn University and Institut Teknologi Bandung, including everyday-life on campus.

Approximately 40 participants, including outbound students from last year and this year as well as inbound students, attended this event and enjoyed cultural exchange with students from different campuses.


A big welcome to 23 AIMS inbound students!

On March 16 through 18, 23 exchange students from Thailand and Indonesia starting their study abroad in 2016 spring arrived in Japan. In the following week, students attended orientation for new international students and were offered information about living in Japan and studying at RU. They also enjoyed exchange with local students who will start or completed their studies in Thailand or Indonesia.

23 students from 4 partner institutions belong to the College of International Relations or College of Policy Science, and study together with other international and local students.


Instructors from Thailand and Indonesia join the Symposium on Global PBL for Innovative Mind and Intelligence

On Thursday, October 15th, the Symposium on Global PBL for Innovative Mind and Intelligence -Re-Inventing Japan Project and AMS Program- was held at Osaka Ibaraki Campus (OIC) hosted by the College of Policy Science.

The symposium was held to commemorate the grand opening of OIC. With four guest speakers from Thailand and Indonesia, lectures and a panel discussion were held on PBL implementation at partner institutions and Ritsumeikan.

The first session entitled “Human Resource Development through PBL” featured lectures about PBL practices from Dr. Siyanee Hirunsale (Thammasat University), Dr. Wawan Dhewanto (Institut Teknologi Bandung), Dr. Irfan Dwidya Prijambada and Ms. Handini Augita (Universitas Gadjah Mada). Associate Professor Dr. Toyoda Yusuke and Assistant Professor Dr. Piyada Chonlaworn from the College of Policy Science introduced a course of pre-departure education “International PBL seminar” as an example at Ritsumeikan. This was followed by student presentations from participants at Thammasat University and Institut Teknologi Bandung in 2014.

The second session consisted of a panel discussion about “Learning and Contributing to Local Society through PBL”. Approximately 130 participants, including students and teachers, attended the symposium and actively listened to the discussion.


Inbound AIMS students experience local Japanese families

On the 11th and 18th of July, five students from Thailand and Indonesia attended a home visit program in Ibaraki City, Osaka, Japan.

The Home Visit program aims to offer international students a great opportunity to visit a local family, so that they can experience Japanese culture and promote exchange with local citizens. The participants visit a host family on the weekend and engage in various activities, such as spending time with the family and visiting tourist sites.

The five AIMS students separated into three groups and had a nice time visiting traditional Japanese house and sightseeing spots in Nara.
One of the participants commented that he enjoyed cooking Japanese food and learning calligraphy with his host family. It was a valuable experience where they enjoyed cultural exchanges with local residents who they would rarely come into contact with.