I have no doubt that the English communication skills I acquired at the College of International Relations have been a great asset in helping me work as a pilot.

Masakazu Kimura
Global Studies Major alumni 2016

Joined ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA) as an in-house pilot trainee in April 2016. After completed pilot training in Germany and USA, assigned as first officer (Co-Pilot)

Please tell us about your current job.

KimuraI am a pilot at ANA's Flight Operation Center. So far, I have been flying domestic routes all over Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa on Airbus aircraft as a co-pilot. Sometime soon, I will switch to a Boeing's aircraft and fly both international and domestic routes.

A pilot's duties do not end in the cockpit. We carefully prepare for a safe and comfortable flight by gathering all the latest information about the flight operation, including routes, weather and aircraft status, before we get on board. Operating an aircraft is a team effort. It is essential for pilots to work closely with personnel from various professions. Therefore, communication skills are very important to us.

What was the most fulfilling activity while at the College of International Relations and how your past experiences are benefiting you now?

KimuraI focused on improving my English communication skills during my time at the College of International Relations. At that time, the Global Studies Major (GS Major) had a class with a majority of international students. All lectures were taught in English and were conducted in a Western-style discussion or presentation format. Also, I spent one year as an exchange student in the United States to see Japan objectively from the outside. I had to do all my assignments, exams, and conversations with my friends in English, so my four years college life was literally "immersed in English".

The pilot training of ANA is carried out in Germany and the USA. I learned aviation laws and regulations, physics, meteorology, aeronautical engineering, piloting techniques, and aeronautical radio communications all in English, and had to pass all the tests.

In the real flight training, I was extremely nervous in the cockpit with my hands on the control stick. Nevertheless, my instructor mercilessly gave me detailed instructions and commands in English one after another. I had to concentrate on balancing the aircraft in all directions in the air, back and forth, left and right, up and down, while keeping my eyes on the many instruments and following the instructions precisely without missing a single word of the instructor. A single failure in flight training disqualifies a trainee from becoming a pilot forever. In my case, my English listening skill saved me.

Furthermore, communication with air traffic controllers at airports around the world is a "lifeline" for pilots flying safely with the lives of passengers in their hands. I have no doubt that the English communication skills I acquired at the College of International Relations have been a great asset in helping me work as a pilot.

What are the attractive points to study at the International Relations, Ritsumeikan University?

KimuraI love the fact that in the College of International Relations, professors and students are very close, and professors are always eager to challenge themselves to develop students who will be needed anywhere in the world and in every situation. In Global Studies Major, students of various nationalities learned through active discussions with professors of various nationalities. Students can acquire habit of considering world issues globally. It was very enjoyable and stimulating to engage in earnest discussions and exchange opinions with students from different cultures, religions, and political backgrounds. I think this is an ideal environment for students who want to play an active role in the world. It will also spark an interest in studying abroad. Students will be more motivated and confident to work and live in foreign countries after graduation.

Any messages from you to the juniors in the College of International Relations?

KimuraThe College of International Relations has two majors, the International Relations Major (IR) and the Global Studies Major (GS), and students can take most of the lectures of the other major on a flexible basis.

I hope that students of both majors will actively interact and influence each other, and enjoy a fruitful campus life! Then you will have the confidence that you will always be needed in any situation in the world, and that you will make many as excellent friends as yourself that will last your life long.

September 2023