Education and Student Life

No. 48: A friend's words changed everything! What I saw beyond overcoming the exams

The "HU Student Interview Series" offers our prospective students valuable insights from current HU students. In our 48th interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Anri Masuda, a third-year student in the Department of Global Studies (IGS) at the School of Integrated Arts and Sciences. 

Anri, who graduated from Kumamoto Prefectural Kumamoto High School, offers a glimpse into her vibrant campus life, where she balances regular classes with enriching experiences like studying abroad. Reflecting on her journey from high school to university, Anri shares insights into her study habits and life as a student at Hiroshima University.

What were your main pursuits during high school?

Studying and club activities (flower arrangement club).

Meeting inspiring teachers after entering high school introduced me to the excitement of learning.

Could you share some of the challenges and struggles you encountered while preparing for exams and navigating the university entrance process?

By the start of my third year in high school, I found it difficult to narrow down what I wanted to study in university, and I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm for the exams. At that time, I felt completely unmotivated to study. I was halfway to giving up altogether.

One factor contributing to this mindset was the reform of university entrance exams starting in 2021. Our cohort was the first to take the new Common Test, and there was uncertainty about the format of the exams and the level of performance expected. Also, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to stay at home and take online classes, which at times discouraged me.

What motivated you to take the entrance exam for Hiroshima University?

When I was unsure about my future path, a friend introduced me to the Department of Integrated Global Studies (IGS) in the School of Integrated Arts and Sciences at Hiroshima University. Influenced by Western movies, I developed a liking for English and felt attracted to an environment where I could use English extensively while in Japan. When I discussed this with my parents, they were very supportive and encouraged me to explore and experience different places.

When did you start studying for the entrance exams?

I began preparing for entrance exams seriously during the summer of my third year in high school, mainly focusing on mock exams. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I found it challenging to maintain the same pace as my peers. The intense atmosphere surrounding the exams added to my struggles. It wasn’t until the end of that summer break when a friend introduced me to the IGS program at Hiroshima University that my mindset began to shift. Drawing on the effort I had invested in studying during my first and second years of high school, I ultimately chose Hiroshima University.

Please tell us about your student life.

Although I'm not particularly involved in any clubs, I became friends with exchange students through classes, and in December 2023, I went to Miyajima with a student from China.

In my second year, I studied abroad in Korea from September until the end of December, for a period of four months. While you can choose the country and timing for studying abroad, many students opt for this period to graduate within four years. I started learning Korean with friends since middle school, and as it was also my third language during my first and second years of university, I chose Korea. I believe studying abroad would be difficult after becoming a working professional, so it was a very valuable experience for me.

By the way, my favorite Korean word is "잡아" (jab-a). In English, it means "to hold." It is a modified version of the verb "잡다" (jab-da), but I like the sound of it.

I also learned a lot from the internship I experienced during the summer break of my third year. In the IGS program I am in, internships are included as one of the required credits for graduation, and I received support from pre-internship etiquette guidance and necessary preparations to post-internship review. My internship placement was at Hiroshima Television Corporation. I toured the studio and accompanied actual interviews, which allowed me to have many valuable experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

At Hiroshima Television Corporation

Meals while studying abroad in Korea

A photo from the internship

Please tell us what you are currently studying.

My current focus is linguistics. I am interested in the acquisition of new languages and how Japanese people approach it. For example, it is often said that many Japanese struggle with English, but I am curious if this relates to unique Japanese cultural and temperamental traits.

Additionally, in the IGS program, about 80% of the classes are conducted in English. Unlike high school classes, there are many opportunities for discussions and presentations, requiring a more proactive approach to learning.

Weekday schedule with classes

8:00 a.m. Wake up, go to university
8:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Classes 
12:00 - 12:50 p.m. Lunch with friends at the cafeteria
12:50 - 4:05 p.m. Classes
5:30 - 9:20 p.m. Part-time job
11:00 p.m. Return home, go to bed

What are your thoughts on the university's support and welfare facilities.

I utilized the university's study abroad support system to study in Korea. I received detailed guidance on necessary documents and required insurance, which was incredibly helpful. The support I received was invaluable.

Moreover, when it comes to internships, students usually have to independently search for and apply to companies. However, the university provided support throughout the entire process, from finding suitable companies to participating successfully in the internship. This allowed me to approach the experience with confidence. 

What were some of the best things about enrolling at Hiroshima University?

Many of my friends in IGS are proficient in English, whether they are international students or Japanese. Initially, this posed a significant challenge, leading to feelings of inferiority and mental strain. However, through perseverance, I gradually gained confidence in myself. Now, after three years, I am immensely grateful for my decision to enroll. Additionally, Hiroshima University has various faculties, and it's enjoyable to interact with friends who have different perspectives and values. Moreover, through studying abroad and internships, I was able to gain invaluable experiences that are not usually possible.

Finally, could you share a message for those hoping to get into Hiroshima University?

As I mentioned before, in my journey as a prospective student and later as a university student, there were many times when things didn't go well or I felt like giving up, but each time I was helped by those around me.

In high school, a friend told me about the IGS program, and teachers supported me during difficult times. Even after entering university, with the support of my family and friends who helped me whenever I didn't understand something, and the staff of the support office in my department who kindly assisted me, I was able to keep pushing forward.

And now, I have dreams that I couldn't even imagine when I was a third-year high school student, and I am positively striving in my studies.

When facing entrance exams, it's easy to become preoccupied with the difficulties and the struggles they entail. However, I hope you'll move forward with a sense of gratitude towards those around you.

With friends while studying abroad (Anri is on the far left)

Photo booth picture with everyone!


December, 2023
Interview and Photograph: Public Relations Group (K & Y)
Location: Kasumi Higashi-Hiroshima Campus