Every time the cherry blossoms bloom in April, a glimpse of memories warms my heart. The view of cherry blossom trees in front of the library always reminds me of my first day at Tokyo Tech.

That day, I had mixed feelings about living here in Japan. I was super excited to meet new people and experience new things in Tokyo. But at the same time, I was worried about many things such as classes, food, weather, and accommodations. I was also afraid that I wouldn’t be able to survive in Japan cause I couldn’t speak the language.
However, on the same day, after I had met my professors and friends, my worries slowly drifted away. As a Global Scientists and Engineers Program (GSEP) student, I had an additional new student orientation session held in English. It was my first time meeting the other 13 students that belong to the 2nd batch of GSEP. I was fascinated to finally make new friends from Thailand, the Philippines, Mongolia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and my home country Indonesia. I also got a chance to meet GSEP faculty members and some of my senpais from the 1st batch. During the session, I was able to share my concerns with them. Since that day, they had always been there whenever I needed help with my studies.

GSEP Orientation, April 2017
Source: GSEP website http://www.tse.ens.titech.ac.jp/~gsep/2017/04/06/another-year-gsep/

During freshman year, the other GSEP students and I received enormous supports from GSEP and Tokyo Tech’s faculty members. They always made sure that we were able to adapt to the university’s education system. In addition to all lectures being held in English, there were experiment classes designed specifically for GSEP students. For these classes, we were given a tutor that could speak fluent English to guide us during the experiment. Even for a class that was taught in Japanese, we were provided an interpreter. As a result, we could follow the class, regardless of our Japanese language ability. Furthermore, we also had a special Japanese and Kanji class designed for GSEP students to study the language from the basic level. I was always grateful for being a GSEP student and was amazed at the amount of support that the faculty members have given to us.

In my second year, I became a part of the Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering (TSE). The TSE curriculum offers various courses from a broad spectrum of fields such as bioengineering, chemical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, social sciences, and many more. (The details can be found here). Since my objective was to find my passion by exploring different fields, this curriculum dovetailed perfectly with my interest. During my final year, I finally discovered my passion for programming and Artificial Intelligence. My experience of studying under the GSEP program has helped me to find the specific field I want to pursue upon my graduation.

In the last semester of my study, I decided to apply for a master’s degree program at Tokyo Tech through the International Graduate Program C (IGP-C). IGP is designed for qualified international students who may have little or no knowledge of the Japanese language. Therefore, similar to the GSEP program, IGP programs offer all courses in English. In December 2020, I received the acceptance letter to pursue a master’s degree at the Department of Life Science and Technology (LST). Two months after, I received an email saying that I was selected as an awardee of GSEP-G scholarship, which is fully supported by Tokyo Tech Fund. I was beyond thrilled to find out that this scholarship would cover all the enrollment and tuition fees for the full duration of my master’s program.

Graduation Day with a view of cherry blossom and the Cheesecake Building (Tokyo Tech Library)

This year’s cherry blossoms bloomed earlier than usual. Luckily, I was able to capture them during my graduation day on March 26th. This moment marks the end of my undergraduate study and the beginning of my graduate school journey. I am looking forward to experiencing the next chapter of my life as a graduate student here at Tokyo Tech.