Every Day is “Global” at ICU.

Global ICU

Global Students and Faculty

Ryota Sato 
College of Liberal Arts, Fourth-Year student (At the Time of Interview)

Major in Biology, minor in Environmental Studies

Amount of Effort I Made, Learnt the Joy of Studying Environmental Science

My Objectives of Studying at Wooster

I returned from studying at the College of Wooster in Ohio, U.S. as an exchange student. In my first year at ICU, I participated in the Study English Abroad (SEA) program on my summer break, and had wanted to enroll in a mid or long-term exchange program at least once before graduation.

My objectives of studying at Wooster were to develop a plan for my senior research project, take classes that are not available at ICU, and study natural science in a native English language environment. I was also beginning to think about enrolling in the master program overseas, and therefore, I thought this would give me a great opportunity to decide whether to go ahead or not.

The College of Wooster is a liberal arts college in the U.S. that is known for its good quality education and STEM programs. The exchange program between ICU and Wooster is focused in the STEM field. During the program, we take specialized courses designed to help us to acquire the ability to write scientific papers in English in our 3rd year. Under the cooperation between Wooster professors who support our research and ICU's faculty who assists students with their senior thesis, we learn the basic skills (how to write academic papers, etc.) that serve as the base for planning and executing our research projects, and ultimately we write a proposal for our respective senior research project. This is an overseas exchange program I would recommend those who would like to start planning their research projects early and possess enthusiasm towards research projects.

Three Important Outcomes

This exchange program enabled me to obtain the following three important outcomes. First, I was able to find a key to my future. Before leaving for this exchange, I only had a vague objective for my future to get involved in protecting environment and animals with the absence of clear view on my career after graduation. At Wooster, I was taking a conservation ecology course. I read many research papers related to environmental, ecological, and social studies almost every week, which stimulated my curiosity towards academic disciplines on a daily basis. I came to want to learn more about these disciplines and am planning to study environmental science at a graduate school in Australia after graduation. In the future, I am hoping to work abroad in the area of tree-planting and forestry projects. The exchange opportunity helped me to discover my new potentials and to think more specifically about how I can connect them with my future career.

Secondly, I was able to elevate the ability to construct my own opinions and to listen to others. In every class I attended, there were discussions. Students discussed with each other even on seemingly miniscule matters, which helped me to feel first-hand many differences in perceptions between others and myself. In a course where we tackled planning of senior research projects, we were able to obtain feedback on our work-in-progress papers and research plans from our colleagues and professors. In the last class of that course, we presented our research projects, which gave us an opportunity to notice what we have missed and to learn to view our own research objectively. The series of work of reflecting important information and others' views obtained in classes and discussions on my own opinions, and of implementing in my senior research project and producing a paper was not as easy as I thought. However, I was able to truly feel and experience the importance of knowing various perspectives to form my own opinions.

Thirdly, I strongly felt the joy of learning. When I was in Japan, I could focus on learning, but somehow, I was not enjoying learning. When I studied at Wooster, I worked very hard to be keeping up with the classes and homework. It was just as I heard of studying at universities in the U.S. With a mountain of homework, I suffered on a daily basis. As efforts made were recognized and rewarded there, I managed to keep my motivation high. Scientific papers, books and class themes I encountered in my daily learning made a deep impression on me, which made me realize how enjoyable learning was and raised my motivation to work on my senior research project and progress my studies at a graduate school.


The Amount of Effort Made While studying Abroad is the Key

Through my overseas study at this time, I really felt I was in a privileged environment. I think ICU, in particular, offers a superb environment, including student exchange and other numerous overseas studying programs, to those who want to make the world their own stage. I felt from my own experience as an exchange student that the program had hugely contributed to my language capability as well as my development in building my future career and myself as a person. Of course, merely going there as an exchange student will not change anything. The amount of effort made while studying there is the key.

If you are interested in studying overseas, please do not hesitate to take an action. You will surely gain much out of it. Do not forget to make best use of the opportunities you have at hand.