――Could you tell us about your academic life at the School of Science?
I study chemistry systematically and in its entirety, such as organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry, by going to lectures in the morning and attending student laboratories and discussions on academic articles in the afternoon. The curriculum in the Department of Chemistry is entirely in English, even for Japanese students, which is a huge strength as I want to be able to work anywhere in the world.
There are also many professors in the department who are doing interdisciplinary research and my interests are now expanding beyond the world of elements to that of chemistry related to biology, such as molecular biology and natural product synthesis.
――Why did you decide to study abroad?
I’ve liked Japanese food and culture ever since I was in elementary school, and in junior high school I chose to study Japanese as my third language. This is why when it came time to choose a university, I knew immediately that I wanted to study abroad. Singapore has developed greatly; however, it is a small and young country, and I wanted to broaden my horizons by seeing the world.
――Why did you choose the University of Tokyo?
I chose this university because the School of Science’s Department of Chemistry provides an educational environment where I can study chemistry in English in a country I have always wanted to go to. The Department’s emphasis on basic research and the University of Tokyo’s history and tradition were also very appealing to me.
I came to Japan as a Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship student and spent one year taking preparatory courses in Japanese language and basic academic skills at the Japanese Language Center for International Students, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, before entering UTokyo.
――How are you finding life in Japan?
I have no trouble in my daily life when it comes to using Japanese since I continued studying the language through classes offered by the College of Arts and Sciences after I became a student here. The staff at UTokyo also provide us with a lot of support, so I can easily speak with them about anything.
In my spare time, I work part-time teaching business English after school. Overall, my university and personal life in Japan are very fulfilling.
Interview and text: Masatsugu Kayahara
Photography: Junichi Kaizuka
Originally published in The School of Science Brochure 2019