Yuna Sakatani, a current student studying Chemistry and Biology, is now pursuing her degree in Osaka University. Becoming a young woman who is living the college life by herself, she shared with me all the up and down of her study journey in Japan’s third largest city in the metropolis of the Kansai region.
Learning about the benefits of the program
In my mind, Yuna is a science enthusiast and that is why she is pursuing the Chemistry-Biology Combined Major Program (CBCMP) at Osaka University. Along with the Human Sciences International Undergraduate Degree Program, this natural science program is part of a larger academic movement called the Global 30, which aims to provide a productive, highly educational environment for international students to study in Japan. Her program is jointly sponsored by the schools of Science, Engineering, and Engineering Sciences, making it a holistic scientific program to develop professional understanding. Osaka University is one of the leading school in the Global 30 program as it is projected to bring in 300,000 international students to Japan by 2020.
When I asked her about the reasons why she chose Osaka University over others, Yuna realistically considered Osaka University for its extreme affordability, which is around 535,800 JPY / school year (equivalent to 4880 USD /school year). For her, Osaka University can provide a world-class education while she can stay in Osaka with relatively inexpensive tuition and familiarity of the culture. Considering that Osaka University is viewed as a top prestigious school in the country, equipped with advanced research, tools, facilities, and opportunities to study science in English, Yuna was drawn in with all the benefits the university has. During her first semester, she was mostly focusing on introductory courses across all scientific disciplines. During her second semester, she was given more time to do practical and hands-on work. Cell biology, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, bioinformatics are among the topics of new things that she was learning from the courses. For example, in bioinformatics, she does molecular dynamic simulation along with molecular refinement, cell cycle, intercellular signaling, and protein sorting.
The international community in Osaka University
Yuna and I shared a similar background taking part in a diverse student culture in high school, thus I understand her strong interest in the international community of Osaka University. That is also a reason why she has chosen CBCMP over other general programs provided in Japanese, even while her Japanese level is superb. Surrounded by talented, intelligent, well-motivated people around the world coming to participate in discussions, sitting in small-size classes, working on various innovative tasks, Yuna shared that it was challenging yet exciting for her to work on as she pushes herself to further. Along with the rigorous academic journey, she was able to enjoy the energetic, active student life, by contributing her effort to NGO work, and engaging in OISA – Osaka International Student Association, where she can connect and meet up with new friends. One of the highlights Yuna loves about this dynamic environment, is that she can get to know her professors and classmates so well that they often hang out after classes and enjoy sharing moments together.
Advice for prospective students interested in going to Osaka University
She shared wholeheartedly that living alone in college is hard at first, especially for international students, but once you get used to it, it will become something you love. To be able to manage time for school, work, having fun with friends, and also being able to take care of yourself, Yuna shared that it is important to work hard on self-discipline, and learn how to rely on friends. Besides, socializing is a big part of student life at Osaka University, so having a good mindset to balance studying, acquiring new knowledge with a bit of excitement, fun, and exploration will be very helpful.
I was thankful that even though we were far apart, I was able to learn more about all of these aspects of Osaka University and learn about how every student has ups and downs throughout the college journey. I hope that Yuna will continue to be appreciated for her work and effort, enjoy her time at Osaka University as she continues to strive for her passion, and succeed in the future.