by Anna Yorozuya
I would like to express my gratitude to the Ito Foundation U.S.A. and Friends of UTokyo, Inc. for financially supporting my graduate studies. I started my Ph.D. program in political science in August 2022, after graduating from the University of Tokyo in March. Without the generous financial support by the Ito Foundation U.S.A. and Friends of UTokyo, Inc for moving expenses, I wouldn’t have been able to make this life-changing decision to move to a completely new environment. I’m very grateful for the support.
I study comparative politics with a focus on the questions of ethnic diversity, democracy, and decentralization in Eastern Europe, using quantitative methods. These issues are very well researched by the political scientists in the US, which led me to apply to the PhD program. I also expected a rigorous methodological training (at the intersection of economics and statistics) in the coursework, which is a strength of the PhD program in American universities. As this is my first time living in the US, moving to New Haven was an arduous process. I thus greatly appreciated the financial support, which helped me set up my new life amidst the unprecedented depreciation of the yen.
In my program, the first two years are spent mostly on the coursework. In the first year, I took the courses for my subfields — comparative politics, political economy, quantitative methods, and formal theory — while developing ideas for my dissertation. By the end of the second year, I will be concentrating my effort on coursework, and on qualifying in the comprehensive exams to complete all the requirements for the master’s degree and advancement to the Ph.D. candidacy. The program also provides me with countless opportunities, from attending guest lectures by notable scholars to conducting research and fieldwork during the summer. Through these invaluable experiences, I have encountered and discovered fascinating research topics that I never imagined would interest me.
At Yale, I am surrounded by amazing colleagues, who are also my great friends, and I am always inspired by insightful discussions with them. As we all live in a small town, we have a close relationship with each other, which enriches my life here in New Haven. I am also working as a student coordinator for a workshop, in which distinguished scholars are invited to give a talk – working with the administrative staff and meeting people from different universities have also been helping me to get to know the university culture in the United States.
My experience at Yale has been splendid so far – Every single day I notice and learn something new, both academically and personally. I am looking forward to what awaits me in the next five years of this program, and hope to give back to the community that supported my graduate studies.