Exploring new interests through a study abroad program in UK

Vol. 05 2015.04.02
Natsuho KANEKO From Shizuoka, Japan

I have always been interested in environmental problems and wanted to research about plant and animal life. My choice for the Ecoregion Science Course at the Faculty of Agriculture came from the possibility of studying a wide variety of subjects from environment to society. In the beginning, I was mostly interested in subjects related to global environment, fauna and flora, etc. the so said “science field”. But while studying at TUAT, I got the chance to know and interact with international students and became interested in international relations, psychology and other subjects related to social sciences as well. At TUAT, I became friends with a lot of foreign students and, as a result, I was able to improve my English skills by planning and participating in international exchange activities, and by simply spending time with them.

In addition to that, I decided to take part in a 3-week study abroad program at the University of Brighton (UK) in the summer of my second year. I participated in a program called “Developing English Communication Skills for Future Scientists” which is a special program targeting students of technological sciences to help improve their English communication skills. In addition to English lessons in listening and writing, I could also discuss and prepare a lot of presentations. Most of the discussion themes were science-related and we also had some classes in which we used TED videos as supporting materials. I found the 5-minute free choice theme presentations very valuable.

Outside the course hours, I used my free time to explore the city by myself and also went to meet a professor from the University of Reading (UK) to learn more about intermediary organizations, which is a theme I had an interest in. This provided me a unique opportunity to think deeper about the role of connecting businesses, government and civil society and was a theme I was thinking of studying inside the social sciences. In the UK, I could also perceive the existence of other fields of study that, different from Japan, weren’t limited by the boundaries of human or natural sciences. I could have a unique experience and deepen my knowledge in other interest fields as well, something that was only made possible for being overseas. Even for a short period, being abroad made me rethink what I took for granted and challenged me to try things I wasn’t familiar with. I learned a lot and I can say my interests expanded as well.

My current interests are in linking human actions and psychology to the knowledge and analytical skills I acquired from taking a science course. In the future, I want to work in the international field assisting people in achieving their goals. Also, I started preparing to apply for graduate schools abroad.


Natsuho Kaneko From Shizuoka, Japan

Natsuho is currently a 4th Year student of the Ecoregion Science Course. She is often involved in the international activities and events at TUAT and was also the President of the former IS Circle - short for International Society Circle, a student group - in TUAT’s Fuchu Campus for 2 years. She is 21 now.

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