Wherever I Go in the World
Honing my international perspective by
studying in two countries
I lived in the United States when I was young, and I went to an international school after returning to Japan. I thought that I had been immersed in a relatively global environment, but I did not have many chances to interact with people of different cultures, so I was not able to hone my international perspective as I had intended. When I was looking to go to university, I wanted to be exposed to a wide range of values and immerse myself in an environment that would broaden my horizons, so I decided to enroll in the Joint Degree Program(JDP).
Of course, I had other options like going to a Japanese university and studying abroad for a certain period of time or enrolling directly in a foreign university; however, given the time I had spent in an international school, which is neither a Japanese nor a foreign environment, I felt that I wanted to build a solid foundation before gaining exposure to a foreign culture by learning about Japan at a Japanese university and then transferring to a foreign university. The JDP was the only program that would let me do this, and I felt in my heart that the unique experience I would gain on the program would definitely be useful for my future. This is why I chose the JDP.
What can a Japanese student do
in the international arena?
In the year and a half that I have studied at Ritsumeikan University, I feel that international relations is a discipline where you can gain a thorough academic understanding of Japan as well as the global situation. In my classes, I learn about Japanese history, society, culture, and economy from both domestic and international perspectives. What this has given me is the ability to delve into various themes and issues pertaining to the world outside Japan, while still valuing the ideas and culture that only Japanese people can relate to. Through my studies, I have come to think about how I, as a JDP student and as a Japanese person, can contribute to building relationships between Japan and other countries and to international society.
I went to an international school for high school, so I was not worried about studying in the unique environment of the College of International Relations and the JDP. However, after I enrolled, I was surprised by the level and quality of the classes. If you don’t understand something in class, you can ask your classmates for their take on things or ask the instructors to answer your questions. There is always someone there to provide you with kind support. There are strong connections between the upperclassman and underclassmen, so I often consult with older students about life in Washington D.C. and future career options. I feel incredibly grateful that I can ask people who have actually lived overseas for their invaluable input.
I am heading to the United States in less than one month, so I am preparing for my life there by working to improve my English and doing my own research on American politics and culture. Although I have some worries about studying international relations at a high level in English, it is reassuring to know I can ask the staff and advisors at both American University(AU) and Ritsumeikan University(RU) for support. There were a lot of complicated procedures to complete to prepare for departure and apply for scholarships, but the staff provided me with careful support, which gave me peace of mind.
I plan to start my time in the United States by getting acclimated to life there, but my ultimate goal is to join an internship at a company there. I want to gain experiences that I can only have in the United States and in Washington D.C. and broaden my horizons.
On the JDP, there are academic advisors assigned to each student to help them plan for their four years at both universities. In addition to helping students choose their courses and providing them with learning support, including advice on how to improve their English skills, academic advisors offer health management support, internship placement support, and assistance with tuition and scholarships. Since advisors at both universities closely share information on students' enrollment status, the advisors at AU continue to support students after they travel to the United States by taking over the advising initially provided at RU. This system of individualized support carried out by both universities is unique to the JDP.
I want to work in a global field
After graduation, I would like to work with people from around the world, so I am thinking of finding a job at an international organization or a global company. Ideally, I would like to put myself in an environment where I can make good use of what I learned at RU and AU. I sometimes talk about my future with my friends on the JDP and the College of International Relations, and I think that many students want to find a career that makes use of their experience in learning about a variety of topics from an international perspective.
JDP students spend two years in the United States, so naturally, finding a job outside of Japan is also an option. I feel that by studying at both universities, I will not only gain a wide range of knowledge and perspectives, I will also expand my future possibilities. For students who are interested in living and studying in the United States and for students who want to work in a career that emphasizes international sensibilities, I think that the JDP is definitely worth the challenge.
Interview date: July 28, 2021
Proactively learning in a stimulating environment surrounded by international students
2nd-year studentAmi Kaibori
Using My Curiosity as the Driving force to Learn Amid a Diverse Array of Values
2nd-year studentTaira Sugimoto
Exploring the value of the joint degree program
A single curriculum jointly designed by two different universities
Associate ProfessorThomas French
At the Forefront of International Higher Education:
The Joint Degree Program at Ritsumeikan University
The value of spending time in Washington D.C.,
the center of America’s global strategy