“HU Student Interview Series” gives our prospective students an insight into the perspectives of HU students. On the 32nd interview in this series, we talked to Mr. Hiroshi Kaki, who graduated from Oita Nishi High School, Oita Prefecture, and is currently in the 3rd year of the School of Economics. Mr. Kaki has a dream of setting up his own business in the future. We interviewed him about his university entrance preparation times, classes at HU, and his study abroad plan starting this autumn.
Why did you decide to apply for Hiroshima University?
As Hiroshima University has been committing itself to be ranked in the top 100 in the World University Rankings and selected as one of the universities with “The Top Global University Project,” I thought the university seemed to have gained momentum. I also thought that I could be on a roll by studying at this vigorous university, so that was why I chose Hiroshima University.
Furthermore, the results of my mock exam that I took on my 3rd year in High School gave me another push. Actually they were not really well, showing a low chance of passing the entrance examination of Hiroshima University. However, they motivated me because I would rather like to strive for getting into a university above my level than choose the university that has more chances to be accepted.
What triggered you to choose the School of Economics?
I have been interested in setting up my own business, so as a first step, I decided to study about how the society works. I chose the School of Economics to study the foundations of societies.
“I want to learn mechanisms of societies and utilize the knowledge when I start my own business in the future,” says Mr. Kaki.
When did you start preparing for university entrance examinations?
I earnestly started preparing from the summer break of my third year in high school. That was when I decided to apply for the School of Economics and started going to a cram school.
I was in the Sciences course in high school, so at the cram school I studied focusing on subjects in humanities such as Modern Social Studies.
So, you switched from the sciences course to the humanities course. Were there any difficulties?
I found studying Modern Social Studies tough. Unlike the students in the Humanities course who take Modern Social Studies class from the first year, I had to study from the start and catch up in just several months. I was a bit anxious.
Other than this, I don’t know if I should call it a difficulty but … As I said, I was in the Sciences course and there was an atmosphere that students should study focusing only on science related subjects until the National Center Test for University Admissions. There were intensive classes for science related subjects such as physics and chemistry, whereas no intensive classes for humanities subjects like Japanese. At school, I found it tough that I could not spare my time to study what I wanted to focus on.
I see. You had a difficulty of maintaining the balance between studies at school and studies for exam preparation. Were there any subjects you felt you were not so good at?
I was not good at Chinese classics and Japanese classics so I studied intensively at the cram school and asked my teacher over and over until I got fully understood to overcome them.
As to Modern Social Studies, I was at first worried if I could catch up, but the more mock exams I took the higher the score came out. This made me happy and then led to my confidence, and maybe because of this, I didn't hit any slumps during the university exam preparation times.
Whilst studying, what did you do when you wanted to refresh your mind?
I allowed myself to take some rest, whenever I wanted to or whenever I did not feel like studying. I watched movies or had a long sleep to take my mind off. In exchange, I studied really hard on the days I decided to do so. I think I was able to manage my pace well when preparing for the university examinations.
And you were accepted in the first try! How was Hiroshima University after entering?
There are many events on campus and that is what I like about this university. These events include circles’ performances, international exchanges, workshops with guest speakers, and many more. I think it is great that you can meet people from different fields from yours and make friends from other Schools. On my first year, I participated in some international events such as the “International Luncheon”; where local students and international students have lunch together, and the “Speaking partner”; where local students and international students teach each other their languages.
Other than that, I like the Higashi-Hiroshima campus. I even have a favorite place at the end of campus where there are logs piled up. When I don’t have classes, I usually spend my time with my friends there, talking or taking photos on the logs. Not so many people know or go to that place so my friends and I enjoy ourselves relaxing there.
Mr. Kaki with his friends at their favorite campus site
How are your classes at the School of Economics?
On my first and second year, I studied fundamental economics including microeconomics, macroeconomics, and finance. From this April, my research seminar starts and I’m excited to do more specialized studies. I will be in the research seminar of Associate Professor Akiko Yamane, who specializes in finance. I would like to further deepen my knowledge in stock market.
What was the most interesting class you have taken so far?
I liked the class, “International Economics” by Associate Professor Koichi Yasutake. The lecture style was discussion based, and it was completely different style from the classes I had taken before, where the teacher talks and the students listen and take notes. I found it very exciting since I never had that kind of class before. I learned about rationality of human behavior in class and got to know the field of Behavioral Economics, the one linked to Economics and Psychology. I find Behavioral Economics studies interesting because you can relate them to your own experiences; for example, when you come across a Ramen noodle restaurant with a long line of customers, you feel like going there. I think Behavioral Economics studies will be helpful when I set up my own business so I continue studying them by myself by reading books in this field.
A scene of Mr. Kaki self-studying with his friends in the study area at the Central Library
So, the new school term is about to start. What are you going to put your best effort into during the new term?
I’m going to study abroad through the Hiroshima University Study Abroad program for ten months from this September, so I want to improve my English conversation skills in this new term. Actually I just saw my friend, a foreign student, to practice my English speaking. You often hear, “when you study abroad, you will at first have a difficulty in comprehending what others are saying in English, but you will gradually be able to catch up in three months or so.” But I don’t want to waste my three months, so I want to improve my English ability as much as possible before I’m off to study abroad. Other than talking with international students, I watch English-speaking foreign movies to improve my listening ability and learn English expressions that native speakers use.
Where are you going to study abroad?
I’m going to the University of Minnesota. I will be able to take classes from a wide range of fields, so I want to take some classes that I cannot take in Japan. I also want to take Psychology class there, although I have already taken one here. It was in Japanese so I want to learn Psychology in English this time. As the President of the United States of America has changed in this January, I hope I will have an opportunity to hear Americans “real voices”; how it impacts their lives, and how they judge the new President’s performances.
When did you become interested in studying abroad?
I have been interested since high school when I became fond of English language and started listening to English songs and watching English-speaking movies. Ever since then, my dream was to study abroad.
I’m interested in other cultures so I have been to places like Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan since entering university. I have only been to places in Asia, because of my limited budget, so I would love to travel around the States and even go to Canada during my study abroad time in the States.
Commemorative photo at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taiwan
Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Do you feel you have changed or grown after entering university?
I used to be shy around new people, but since entering university, I think I’m overcoming my shyness. I believe it is your mind that determines your behavior, like Behavioral Economics approaches, so I try not to be controlled by my shyness as it may limit my opportunities.
What kind of business are you planning to set up in the future?
I have no concrete plans yet. As it will take at least ten years or so before I start my business, there is a great chance that future circumstances and demands will dramatically change in time from the current ones. Therefore, instead of making detailed business plans, I am currently studying extensively in the fields of Economics and Management in order to be ready for anything that comes my way.
Have you decided what to do after university?
I do have a dream of setting up my own business but I am thinking about getting a job at a trading/international distributing company after university. I’m hoping to utilize my English language ability that I will further improve through study abroad, and work all around the world. It would be great if I can establish a world-wide network of connections through businesses and utilize the connections for my own business in the future.
Lastly, please give a message to students thinking about entering Hiroshima University!
When you try something new or challenging, you will probably have a fear or an anxiety of failure along with positive expectations. However, I hope you will not let the fear or anxiety hold you back from trying new things. If you try and overcome these feelings, an amazing future awaits you, so keep trying!
April 6th, 2017
Reports and Photograph: Public Relations Group (F, i, O)
Location: Lecture Room, School of Economics