THE LIFE OF AN INTERNATIONAL SILS STUDENT: ALVIN JURIANTO

Alvin Jurianto is a SILS international student from Indonesia. He is a fourth-year student, and is currently studying a Media Studies concentration.

Originally, Alvin was like many students when faced with the prospect of choosing a university: he was not sure where to start. He found Waseda University, and most notably SILS, when a Waseda representative came to a university fair in Indonesia.

Alvin learned that students can study many different fields at SILS. As he has interests in many subjects; such as history, science, and media; he believed that the liberal arts program was “a perfect fit” for him. He compared SILS to other liberal arts programs in Japan, and thought that “SILS had the widest range of classes.”

SILS students agree that there are many subjects offered at SILS – perfect for those who have many interests.

Overall, Alvin believes that SILS offers a wide variety of classes. He has taken a significant amount of film and media, history, cultural studies, international relations, math, and programming classes.

While he was always interested in film, Alvin originally thought that he would study science and linguistics. SILS encourages students to take many different types of classes in their first year, and through that, Alvin found that he truly enjoyed his film classes.

Aside from his SILS courses, Alvin also takes Japanese language classes from Waseda University’s Center for Japanese Language (CJL) as a part of the graduation requirement. He did not have any knowledge of Japanese before coming to Japan, and he has found the classes to be both challenging and rewarding. He took the first four comprehensive classes before taking some themed courses.

Extracurricular activities, such as circles and part-time work opportunities, are often a typical part of a SILS student’s life.

Like many Waseda students, Alvin has been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, particularly in student-run clubs called circles. He is currently part of the organizing committee of a student-run conference, TEDxWasedaU, as the design team leader. He also participates in the peer mentoring club SILS Sempai Project. Prior to this, he used to be in a salsa circle and the Waseda International Festival circle.

At first, Alvin had a difficult time integrating into his circles. “I had a problem in my first semester because I was very self-conscious about my Japanese.” However, he has found that his peers are very welcoming to international students. “If you try to reach out, usually people reciprocate.” Now, the circles are Alvin’s opportunity to engage with new people from outside his normal social circle, which he has found to be extremely valuable.

Alvin is currently doing a part-time job at a technology startup company. He previously had a part-time job at a restaurant in his second year. 

He has learned a significant amount from his jobs. For example, his understanding of the service industry in Japan has improved after his restaurant job. Alvin finds that people in Japan have a very high standard of service. “Japanese workers are dedicated to their jobs and take their positions very seriously,” Alvin says.

Alvin admits that he has a lot of responsibilities as both a student and a worker. Time management is an extremely valuable skill that many university students develop, and Alvin is no exception. Overall, Alvin’s extracurricular activities have greatly shaped his experience in Japan, and have been personally and professionally fulfilling.

Alvin has many plans for his future as both a SILS student and beyond.

Alvin is graduating in September of 2020, so his current focus is to complete his thesis. Alvin is in an advanced seminar that discusses transmedia. His thesis topic is Pokemon, as he is interested in, “how the franchise uses narrative and gameplay to build a company.”

Prior to the seminar, Alvin knew that he wanted to discuss large franchises. He was able to “decide on what to write about and from what perspective with the help of the upper classmates in the class and the professor.”

Alvin plans to find a job in Japan after graduating from SILS. He is currently looking for jobs in the IT industry, using the programming classes he took at SILS as a base for his career.

A SILS STUDENT’S DAILY LIFE

Living and Commute

Alvin is currently living in a single apartment outside of Shinjuku.

Commuting to Waseda’s main campus takes Alvin around 40-50 minutes by train. 

“Public transport, especially through Japan’s extensive train system, is convenient. Buses and trains come regularly and are extremely timely.”

Classes and Academics

Currently, Alvin is taking 11-semester credits. In a typical semester, he takes 2-3 classes a day. 

Since he is graduating soon, he is taking fewer classes this semester.

Alvin does his studying at Waseda University Library as well as some of the study lounges on campus. On average, he studies for around 1-2 hours per class, and spends around 1-2 hours per day studying and doing work for his classes.

Extracurricular activities

The TEDxWasedaU circle meets once a week. As previously mentioned, Alvin currently serves as the design team leader. The organization invites speakers to give talk sessions under the TEDx brand. Alvin helps the other circle members search for venues, create promotional material, find speakers, and host student speaker competitions. 

Mealtimes

One place where Alvin enjoys going to eat is at the Okuma Garden House Cafeteria, located on Waseda’s main campus. 

The cafeteria serves a variety of different dishes, including both Japanese and Western-style meals. Aside from the cafeteria, there are many options for food at Waseda, both on campus and in the surrounding area.

Relaxation and Socialization

To relax, Alvin likes to watch movies and do photography. Because Alvin is quite a busy person, he tends to do most of his socializing during his circle meetings, but manages time to go on outings with his other friends as well. 

Alvin has found that he has enough time to go explore Tokyo and Japan. One of his fondest memories is heading out to Chichibu in Saitama with some friends and renting out some bicycles to go around the neighborhood.

FOUR YEARS FULL OF LIFELONG MEMORIES

Waseda University’s SILS provides its international students with the resources to make lifelong memories in Japan. Waseda’s copious extracurricular activities allow students to experience an exciting Japanese university campus life. The scope of subjects taught at SILS also prepares students to be thoughtful leaders. Significant part-time job and internship opportunities that are facilitated by SILS build the foundation for students’ future careers. At SILS, international students are sure to have a fulfilling and unforgettable experience.