Meet Mizuki! Mizuki is a second-year PEAK student at the University of Tokyo where the majority of classes are held in English!
Why did you choose to study at PEAK?
PEAK just seemed like an ideal option for me. From the academic aspect in terms of the courses offered to the social facet–the location and student life–it would be no exaggeration to say that PEAK ticked all the boxes for my ideal university.
Indeed, perhaps the most captivating point of PEAK is the ability to obtain a degree through classes fully taught in English within one of the global geopolitical centers: Japan. Located in Tokyo, the campus is situated at a convenient distance from various hubs leaving no excuse for a lack of social life. For international students like me who could only dream of studying at a Japanese university, PEAK was a panacea to my concerns. And of course, the courses offered under PEAK allow students to learn and improve their skills with the Japanese language, a point which, as a Japanese student who grew up in various countries, was of no doubt alluring. From being able to obtain a degree in perhaps my favorite country whilst also being given an opportunity to improve on my Japanese: what more could I ask for?
Can you walk us through your typical class-day?
Being a morning person, I like to get up early to get a bit of work done before my first class. As such, my typical day would consist of an early morning to get a head start with some of my assignments or simply to look through my class notes. Besides, I live with my parents–not at the dormitory, which is of a walking distance to the campus–so an early morning is just an inevitable part of my routine. I then head to the campus, where you’ll usually find me in class or the library just to get some work done in between classes. I also tend to settle my lunch at the university cafeteria with my friends. Once I’m done with classes, I head back home to try to get some more work done with my assignments or on some days–in the pre-pandemic realm–spend time hanging out with my friends in places like Shibuya. As I will mention in the latter questions, student life in Tokyo can never let you down.
How have online classes been as a result of COVID?
Online classes, for sure, took a while to get used to. There was no doubt a lot of technical difficulties especially in the beginning of the semester that we, thankfully, managed to somewhat overcome. Taking exams online also proved to be a challenge due to the completely new format of assessment. Having said that, online classes enabled me–and hopefully most other students–to learn the content in depth and at my own pace due to less time spent on travelling and moving around between classes. We were still able to use the class time in a productive manner such as by conducting discussions in class, an aspect which usually gets ignored when discussing the pros and cons of online classes. All in all, I thought that online classes went well taking into consideration of the fact that it was a sudden change for both the students and faculty members.
Any interests in clubs or circles?
I am actually currently a member of 2 badminton circles, albeit the fact that none of them have started their activities yet due to issues pertaining the ongoing pandemic. One of these circles does its activities with another university, so I am hoping this will be a valuable opportunity for me to get to know students in Japan not only from The University of Tokyo, but from others. Joining clubs and circles are known to perhaps be the biggest–and easiest–opportunity to talk to and spend time with the April-entry students, whom PEAK students like myself do not always get to interact with. I am therefore genuinely excited for activities to begin and for the opportunity for me to interact with them.
Favorite part of student life in Japan?
My favorite part would be the convenience of everything here in Japan. Here in Tokyo, there is practically everything there is to do to spend your leisure time! You can commute easily to each place in no time: it would really be no exaggeration to say that the transport system in Japan is as great as it can be. My friends and I often hang out at different places all the time, ranging from Shibuya to Yokohama and even to Nagano prefecture for some ski in the winter. Student life in Japan, I think, is everything you dream of as your ideal university life.
What are you hoping to do after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to be able to get my Master’s degree and continue studying. I never thought I would say this, but university has made me realize just how much I love learning, to the point where I can’t imagine myself finding a full-time just yet. I’m particularly interested in political science and international relations, so hopefully I can find a course that suit my needs. For now, I am thinking of staying in Japan so as to improve my Japanese skills a little more, so I am considering getting my Master’s at The University of Tokyo as a highly likely possibility.
A final word of advice for students who are contemplating whether or not to study in Japan?
Just last year, I also found myself contemplating going to PEAK, let alone going to a university in Japan. Now that I’ve completed my first year of university here in Japan, I can say one thing for sure: studying at PEAK was probably the best decision I’ve made by far in life. It is honestly the perfect place if you’re looking to make close, tight-knit friendships as well as to challenge yourself academically. Despite the fact that I have only completed my first year of university, I can already tell you just how much I learned not only through academics but through the people and the friends I have made here. If you ever find yourself wishing for the perfect balance between student life and academics as your ideal university life, PEAK is the place to go.