By Jeffrey Gau
After graduating from Yale, I spent a month at the University of Tokyo (UTokyo) taking courses titled “Introduction to the Japanese Language” and “Nanoscience.” I had expected to simply attend lectures and learn classroom material. However, my experience far exceeded my expectations.
Through the language course, I developed a strong foundation from which to develop my Japanese. This was an incredible experience, because I was immediately able to utilize the phrases I had learned in class to communicate as I navigated the streets of Tokyo. I only wish I had more time to learn Japanese. I am determined to build upon the knowledge I acquired at UTokyo in order to develop my mastery of the language.
In addition, the course on nanoscience gave me the opportunity to engage with world-class researchers in fields ranging from semiconductors to quantum mechanics. Having had no prior experience with these fields, these lectures provided me with a wealth of new knowledge. Perhaps my favorite lecture was learning about the medical applications of additive manufacturing. In particular, 3D printing bone replacements can have significant clinical benefits because the replacements can be precisely manufactured to ensure a close geometric fit. I also got to tour UTokyo’s world class laboratories and talk to graduate students about their experiences. In addition, I was able to get a new perspective of how research is conducted in another country. I am sure that this knowledge will prove useful as I pursue my PhD back in the United States.
Outside of class, I took the opportunity to explore Japan with my classmates. It was great to be able to engage with students from such a vast variety of backgrounds. My peers came from schools ranging from Cambridge to the University of Singapore and brought with them distinct perspectives. A few highlights include climbing Mount Fuji, waking up at 1 am to see the Tsukiji fish market, and visiting Matsumoto castle.
I am incredibly thankful for FUTI for giving me this amazing opportunity. I was able to explore Japanese culture over the past month. Perhaps most importantly, I made lifelong friendships with peers from all over the world. I know that I will always cherish the memories I made at UTokyo.