The internationalization of graduate education is one of the core objectives of the Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program. The following is a message from a graduate student who participates in a “Top Global Course,” the main component of the program.
Doman Takata, Junior, Doctoral Program
Program in Mathematics, Division of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences, Graduate School of Science
(Participated in and expected to complete the Top Global Course in Mathematics)
Destination / Duration of Stay Abroad:
Pennsylvania State University (USA) Total of 4 months (studied at the university on two occasions [once for one week and then again for four weeks] and attended Conferences on other occasions)
Q1. What made you apply to the Top Global Course?
My supervisor introduced it to me and suggested that I apply to it.
Q2. You’ve received research training overseas. How did it stimulate you academically and what outcomes came of it?
I had a rough idea of what topic I wanted to work on, but a paper that was introduced to me by Professor Nigel Higson, my co-supervisor at Penn State University, heavily influenced my choice of a specific focus. Therefore, it would not be a stretch to say that I was able to obtain my doctoral degree because of the course.
Q3. Did you have any difficulties doing research or living overseas?
When doing mathematical research, it is essential to study by oneself, so being in a foreign country does not mean that you conduct research differently. Having said that, it can take some time to accept differences in things that may not be considered essential to research, such as a library system. For example, their system (unlike Kyoto University’s KULINE) does not tell you if a book is checked out or not.
Also, with regard to my private life, it was not easy to shop given that my host university was located in a rather remote area. But, then again, not many countries beat Japan in terms of convenience of life. You cannot avoid experiencing some inconvenience living overseas simply because you’re not accustomed to it.
Q4. Did the experience of the Top Global Course affect your career path? If so, how?
It didn’t change my career plan at all (in that I didn’t decide I wanted to become a professor at a university in the U.S., or something of that sort). Based on the simple fact that this experience influenced my research, however, I must say that it has had a major impact on me.
Q5. Please give some advice to anyone who might be thinking of applying to the Top Global Courses.
I think that the course can benefit enrolled students significantly because you have access to more information and you can network with more people, if you have not just one, but two supervisors. Once you are enrolled in a doctoral program, you have to go overseas in any case, so you should participate in the course if you have a chance.