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Why International Students Chose UTokyo

The University of Tokyo has a total of 3,328 international students from 109 countries and regions (as of May 1, 2016), of whom 80.7% are from Asia, 10.0% are from Europe, 2.6% are from North America, 2.1% are from Central and South America, and the rest are from other parts of the world.

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We asked 32 of these international students why they decided to come to Japan and study at the University of Tokyo. What did they think of Japan and UTokyo before they came?
 

Macedonia

Macedonia

I was interested in Japanese culture, which emphasizes harmony with nature. I was particularly fascinated with Japanese architecture, so I wanted to study at UTokyo as it has one of the five best architecture programs in the world.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

It was interesting to me how Japan developed into one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries so rapidly. I felt like it would be beneficial for me later to have studied at a well-known university, so I chose UTokyo.

Poland

Poland

I have been interested in Japan ever since I was little. I studied Japanese language and history at university, and decided then to study abroad. I chose UTokyo because I wanted to learn at Japan’s top university.

Germany

Germany

I liked the anime Dragon Ball, and I wanted to study Asian art history and the Japanese language. My teacher recommended UTokyo to me, so I came here through an exchange program with my university.

Vietnam

Vietnam

I wanted to come to Japan ever since I watched anime when I was younger, and I also wanted to study Japan's highly renowned technology. I chose UTokyo because it’s the Japanese university with the most Nobel Laureates.

Australia

Australia

I like to challenge myself in life, and I enjoyed my experience studying abroad for half a year as a high school student in Gifu Prefecture, so I came back to Japan. My teacher recommended PEAK to me, so I came to UTokyo.

United States

United States

UTokyo is Japan’s #1 university, and it had an exchange agreement with my home university. Also, being in Tokyo would make it easier to meet with the friends I had made during my homestay in Saitama Prefecture as a high school student.

China

China

Interacting with Japanese people kindled my interest in Japanese culture. Japan is also closer to my home country than the US, so my parents are not as worried about me. I was nervous about studying abroad, too, but I believed that it would be OK since I was going to UTokyo.

Nigeria

Nigeria

I chose Japan because many Nobel Laureates come from Japan and the Japanese language is wonderful. I chose UTokyo because my uncle, a Kyoto University graduate, told me that UTokyo was the best university.

United States

United States

I liked the Japanese language, with its beautiful balance of hiragana, katakana and kanji. I thought that doing research was best with a “team” attitude, which universities in Japan have.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

I felt that I should immerse myself in a place with a good work ethic and passion towards innovation, so I came to Japan, as Japan has advanced the field of sustainability science. As for UTokyo, I was interested in the GPSS-GLI program.

Thailand

Thailand

Japan is a high-tech and advanced country. UTokyo is Japan's most famous university, the Japanese language school I attended is close to the Hongo area, and I was familiar with the campus because I often went running through there.

Malaysia

Malaysia

I chose Japan because the idea of studying in Asia interested me, and research in my field (hydrology) is really advanced here. Being able to
combine my research interests in Urban Hydrology and Environmental Sciences convinced me to choose UTokyo.

The Philippines

The Philippines

I thought Japan was interesting with its mixture of traditional and modern things. One reason I came to UTokyo is because it’s the top university in Japan, so it’s got an attractive “brand” image.

Canada

Canada

 My father, who has traveled a lot internationally, recommended Japan to me. He knew some researchers at UTokyo, and I had the impression that UTokyo was the top university in Japan. I thought that studying at UTokyo would be the best opportunity for me in Japan.

South Korea

South Korea

I heard from about a study abroad program in Japan from one of my teachers in high school, so I applied for it. I chose UTokyo because it's ranked highly and it's an amazing university.

Israel

Israel

I came to Japan for vacation several years ago and fell in love with the country. I thought it would be interesting to study in a country that was completely different from Israel. When I told one of my professors in Israel that I wanted to study in Japan, they recommended UTokyo to me.

India

India

I wanted to do research on earthquakes, and I thought the best place to do that was in Japan. My professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was a colleague of my current professor here at UTokyo, and recommended that I study under him. Also, I received a scholarship from JICA to come to UTokyo.

Brazil

Brazil

My husband and I visited my older sister who was studying abroad in Japan at the time, and became fascinated with the country. We both wanted to experience living in a foreign country while we were still young, and we chose Japan without hesitation. Japanese architecture is famous all over the world, and UTokyo is very well-known for its architecture program in Japan.

Morocco

Morocco

I became attracted to Japan in particular from learning about the country through anime, and I also exchanged letters with many penpals from Japan. As for the University of Tokyo, I watched an anime in which the main character was trying to get into UTokyo, and that helped me decide to come here.

Indonesia

Indonesia

I love Japanese dramas (I’m a big fan of the actor Eita), and they made me want to be a student in Japan. After participating in a joint research project between my home university (Gadjah Mada University) and UTokyo, I kept in touch with a UTokyo professor who was in charge of the project. He let me study under him, so I was able to come to UTokyo.

Nepal

Nepal

My fiancée was going to be coming to UTokyo on the MEXT scholarship, so we got married and I decided to come to Japan with her. The reason I chose the UTokyo laboratory that I’m in now is because the professor and the lab had websites in English.

Taiwan

Taiwan

Since I had a Japanese friend, I decided to start studying Japanese. When I was studying abroad in Japan for one year on an exchange program, I read a book on psychology written by a UTokyo professor. The book made a deep impression on me and convinced me to consider continuing my studies at UTokyo.

Iran

Iran

I had been interested in Japan since I was young for a variety of reasons, such as the hardworking people, the advanced technology, and the fact that it is completely different from countries in the Middle East and Europe. There aren’t many places anywhere else in the world where I can enroll in programs like the interdisciplinary program that I am in here at UTokyo, which blends the humanities and the sciences.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

I studied architecture at my university, where I became particularly interested in wood construction. I decided to study abroad in Japan, since the application of traditional wood construction techniques to modern architecture is becoming popular in Japan. I chose UTokyo because I felt that I could learn more in future-oriented Tokyo than Kyoto, which is more traditional.

Honduras

Honduras

I had wanted to study overseas since I was little, and I decided to come to Japan because it is completely different from my home country. My parents also encouraged me to come, saying that I could grow a lot as a person if I went to Japan. Also, the reason I chose UTokyo is because it is the top university in Japan.

Singapore

Singapore

I became captivated with Japanese anime, including Inuyasha, Ghost in the Shell and Mushishi. I wanted to be able to watch anime without having to rely on subtitles, which is what got me to start learning Japanese over the Internet.

Cameroon

Cameroon

Being a fan of Japanese electronics, my father encouraged me to study in Japan. I chose UTokyo because I found a professor here doing amazing work in a research field that I was passionate about.

Myanmar

Myanmar

I was considering two choices for study abroad destinations: Australia or Japan. Australia was appealing to me since it's an English-speaking country, but I ultimately decided to go to UTokyo in Japan because of the emphasis the University places on research.

Pakistan

Pakistan

I became interested in studying abroad in Japan because this country offers a practical approach to civil engineering education. I was confident that I could carry out the research I wanted to at UTokyo.

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

I decided on Japan because I admired the fact that Japan contributes greatly to international medical organizations. The main reasons I chose UTokyo were that UTokyo is friendly and welcoming to international students, and also because my department of Global Health Policy is actively engaged in research work inside and outside Japan.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

I wanted see the rest of the world outside of my country. I received study abroad offers from universities in Italy and Japan, and chose to come to Japan because its culture is completely different from Holland's. The main reason I decided on UTokyo was the fact that this university offers an interdisciplinary education.

Note 1: Selection of responses taken from the “International Students, Irasshai!” series of articles published in the monthly in-house magazine Gakunai Kouhou (Japanese language only).
Note 2: This article was originally printed in Tansei 34 (Japanese language only). All information in this article is as of March 2017.