Konnichiwa! This is M2 Zhou. Following the theme of「教えて！山内研究室」, this time I am happy to share my experience as a foreign student here in Ylab. Hope it can be of any help to you. Okay, let's go!
Q: How can I study at the University of Tokyo and Ylab as a foreign student?
A: As Lin-san mentioned, there are both Japanese and English courses at the University of Tokyo. I am in ITASIA program (アジア情報社会コース), which is an English-taught program beginning in September. For the admission and curriculum, every detail is posted on the official website here. Please pay attention to the application deadline (around December or January each year) and prepare the materials early if you want to apply for it.
By the way, for us foreign students, unfamiliarity to the application process to Japanese universities and information access may be a problem. So if you have any worries, here I do recommend an online course, Studying at Japanese Universities, where former applicants and current students at UTokyo shared their thoughts and can be a good reference for you.
In my case, I spent one year to finish the required credits (30 credits, thesis included), selecting courses both in and outside our department. Also, I tried some Japanese courses, which were informative and interesting enough to challenge myself. From this semester, I can focus on my own research. And till last month, the interview part was almost finished with everyone's kind help.
To write it here last for this question, whether to enroll in Japanese or English program lies in your target and planning. For example, you get to consider your language ability, duration of the program, and curriculum etc.
Q: What if I have no background in education? And how will the research life be as a master student in Ylab?
A: It will definitely not be a big problem because people here do different research and are actually from varied backgrounds. As long as you have passion and thoughts for your future research, your background will add diversity to Ylab.
For myself, I majored in Literature in undergraduate years, partly related to education. But I got interested in MOOCs years ago, a new field that I didn't have much knowledge at that time. I tried to do the research plan myself and was lucky enough to be here. One of the greatest merits I found in Ylab is that everyone will have a research facilitator, whether it be your senpai or sensei from Ylab. IT REALLY HELPS. And as Harada-san said, each week's semi is a long and informative afternoon. I do my research in English and do appreciate all the advice for my research after every presentation.
Q: Any other learning opportunities and features about Ylab?
A: The learning opportunities and environment are really attracting. Last year, I participated in Spring and Summer camp of our laboratory. It was my first time to experience Japanese gasshuku, both of which were intensive learning trip. And in September, the conference of JSET in Shimane University inspired me with the latest works in the educational field.
Personally, to give one word for Ylab, it would be "connection". Connections among Yamauchi-sensei and students, seniors and juniors, inside and outside Ylab, Japanese students and foreign students, research and application. And right now, the blog here and you.
Will these words be of any help to you? And let's look forward to the next blog post!