by Mihiro Nomura
I could not believe that I was back at Princeton after my year-long exchange here as a junior two years ago. But here I was, not as an exchange student but as a graduate student, ready to pursue yet another journey.
Three months have passed since my arrival here, during which I have spent both academically and socially enriching experiences. In this report, I would like to briefly summarize my academic and social life in the past months, and conclude with an acknowledgement expressing my sincere appreciation to the Ito Foundation U.S.A. and the Friends of UTokyo, Inc.
This semester, I am taking three courses (“Environmental Chemistry,” “Data, Models, and Uncertainty in the Natural Sciences,” and “Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry”) and auditing one course (“Theory of Groundwater Flow”) offered from the Departments of Geosciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering. All of the courses are challenging: problem sets are assigned on a weekly basis in addition to midterms and finals/final projects. While the weekly homework assignments are demanding, they have helped me in deepening my understanding in the concepts that I have learned in class and applying them in solving real world problems, thus serving as an integral part of the overall learning experience.
Besides coursework, I have been holding weekly meetings with my professor discussing research and attending weekly research group meetings where each group member alternates in presenting his or her research to receive feedback. All in all, my academic experiences have been challenging, yet stimulating.
In addition to academics, I have been enjoying social life. Various events are held on campus, ranging from weekly “Happy Hours” every Friday evening where graduate students from the department converse while drinking refreshments, to “Lawn Parties,” a biannual event in which students enjoy music and food truck foods with their friends. Out of all the events, however, I particularly enjoy the biweekly “Japanese Table,” where students interested in Japanese dine together and discuss in Japanese. Through this event, I have made many friends and have acquired new lenses through which to view Japan.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the Ito Foundation U.S.A. and the Friends of UTokyo, Inc. for their generous support which have made these experiences possible. I am grateful for this opportunity to study here at Princeton, and look forward to the experiences yet to come.