Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / A change to my natural environment

Courtesy of Yuto Hori

Yuto Hori at the Jacobs University Bremen campus

By Yuto Hori (Jacobs University Bremen) / Special to The Japan News “Why did you choose a German university?” I have asked myself this question again and again. I am still not too sure of the answer, because the reasons are really complex.

I had a desire to major in environmental studies and learn about natural resources at university. But I was in the liberal arts course in high school, so I could not even apply to Japanese universities that have natural sciences courses.

In addition, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Canada for one year when I was a high school student. So I had no hesitation about going to a university overseas and therefore decided to study abroad again.

Luckily, I found Jacobs University Bremen (JUB), which offers scientific courses regardless of what students studied in high school. Besides, I was interested in the policy-making processes regarding environmental issues in Germany. Discussions on the issue of immigrants and refugees in Germany also interested me. To pursue my interests and desires in both academic and social areas, I decided to attend this university.

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The beginning of my university life was full of fun. The international environment of JUB and the new experience of living in Germany excited me. However, attending university is not only about fun, you also have to study a lot.

As I had studied little natural science and mathematics at my high school, I struggled with subjects such as physics, chemistry and mathematics. Geology also made me suffer because I had to memorize a lot of technical terminologies. It was not easy to overcome those difficulties and my motivation to study was low.

At the end of my freshman year, I joined an excursion to the Harz Mountains to investigate geological features and environmental issues of the area. The excursion was highly practical and required independent thinking. I had to connect all of my knowledge from many subject areas. My professors were always asking me, “Why is that important for this environment?”, “How is this connected to what we learned in the classroom?” and “Why do you think so?” These questions reminded me that classroom study is not only for exams but also connected to the real world. It has motivated me and I gained a passion for studying.

Such experiences taught me that it is important to dive into the real world. Classroom experience is essential, but I believe that learning out in the field makes study much more practical and fun.

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Jacobs University Bremen

Founded in 2001 and located in Bremen, Germany, this private English-speaking university is known as one of the most international in the country with about 1,200 students from 100 countries living on its residential campus.

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