No.41 Hiroshima University, a place where many opportunities await if you act on your own initiative

HU Student Interview Series No 41

“HU Student Interview Series” gives our prospective students an insight into the perspectives of HU students. On the 41st interview in this series, we have interviewed Mr. Taishi Furuki, who graduated from Kamigoto High School in Nagasaki Prefecture, currently in the 4th year of the British, American, and European Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics course, at the School of Letters. Mr. Furuki who had a background in sciences, converted to a humanities student, enrolling in the School of Letters at HU, as he desired to study languages, history and culture. He has actively participated in study abroad and international exchange programs; during his four years at university, he has studied in five different countries. We asked him about his entrance exam preparation and university life at HU.

Interviewer: HU Student Interview Series, Public Relations Student Staff
Mariko Kataoka, School of Education, 2nd year student

After becoming interested in culture and history, I thought long and hard, eventually converting to a humanities student

I decided to become a humanities student when I was in the 3rd grade of high school. In the 2nd year, when I had to choose between sciences or humanities, I did not have a vision of what I wanted to do in the future, so I proceeded to the science course as my homeroom teacher recommended me.

The major turning point in my life was when I participated in an international exchange summer camp during the 2nd year at high school. I stayed in Shanghai for two weeks, where I had the chance to study history, linguistics, and experience culture while interacting with students from other high schools, allowing me to deepen the friendship. This experience was really fun for me, and I wanted to know more. I was certain that the subjects I wanted to study were languages, history, and culture.

When I returned to Japan, I visited the open days of science-related faculties at various universities, although none felt right for me. After thinking deeply about what I should do, I eventually decided to convert to a humanities course in the spring of the 3rd year.

The conclusive factor that allowed me to choose HU was the study abroad and international exchange programs that were offered

I'd considered studying abroad ever since I was in high school. I chose to apply to HU since I thought that the study abroad programs offered, and the environment for international exchange was considerably better when compared to other universities. HU has many international students and there was a partner university in the country I wanted to visit.

I chose the School of Letters because in the “British, American, and European Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics course” on offer, I could study history and culture, as well as the English language. I wanted to learn the culture and history through literature, while improving my English skills. In addition, HU is a federated university so I had high hopes that I could also study a wide variety of subjects outside my area of expertise.

About studying abroad

"I'd been thinking about studying abroad ever since I was a high school student," says Mr. Furuki

I attended science classes after converting to a humanities student. There were many hardships, but I was able to keep working hard for my future!

It may surprise you, but I actually continued to attend science classes until I graduated, although I converted to a humanities student, due to the policy of my high school. As a result, although I studied along with my friends who wanted to apply to science-related faculties, I kept on saying to myself, ‘if I study science subjects and get a better score than my mates, it will become a great weapon for me’, and I maintained my motivation to study.

It was very tough because I had to study extra subjects and take lessons that were irrelevant to the exams I was preparing for. However, I had to accept this situation since, I was the one who decided to convert to a humanities student, and I thought this pain and hardship were necessary for me to pursue what I really wanted to do in the future.

Never stay up late and concentrate more than anybody else when awake!

I belonged to a football club, so I only genuinely started to prepare for my examinations in the summer of the 3rd grade. At first, I studied until very late at night. However, I was unable to resist the drowsiness and I stopped because I felt it was extremely inefficient. Since then, I had a clear mindset that I will work hard at school and rest at home; when I was awake in lessons or during self-study, I convinced myself to focus more than anybody else in the class.

After attending several international exchange and study abroad programs, I was finally able to participate in discussions using English

When I entered HU, in my 1st year, I participated in the START exchange program and stayed in the United States for two weeks. This acted as a catalyst for me, making me want to participate in a longer study abroad program; using the international exchange program offered at HU, I visited Thailand in my 2nd year and the United Kingdom in the 3rd year, staying for six months in both occasions. During the spring holidays in the 2nd year, I also visited Spain, when I participated in a ‘Study Abroad Program’. I was able to study about human rights and social issues in Europe through attending lessons and having group discussions with the local students. In the summer of the 3rd year, I visited China, as I participated in the ‘Chinese-Japanese 1000 Students Interaction Tournament’, where the Chinese and Japanese students intermingle and exchange ideas. I also participated in many international exchange seminars held in HU.

New Year's Day Parade in the UK

New Year's Day Parade in the UK 

Chinese-Japanese 1000 Students Interaction Tournament

Wearing matching T-shirts in China

In the interview, Mr. Furuki said that he is very satisfied that he was able to take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities offered by the university effectively. He could not speak English at all in his 1st year at university, yet through attending the many exchange programs, his English skill has improved greatly, to a level allowing him to participate in discussions using English.

Interpreting at the Model United Nations (MUN)

Interpreting at the Model United Nations (MUN). 
The topic was "Food and Water Security"

The knowledge obtained in the study abroad programs will help when writing the graduation thesis

For my graduation thesis, I read the book called ‘Light in August’ and investigated its historical context (including the laws, history, and background of the author), and how it appears in the writing. The author frequently mentions issues related to gender and race, and these ideas are expressed strongly, especially in this book. I was interested in racial and gender issues, and I investigated these when I visited Thailand for a study abroad program in my 2nd year. The experiences I obtained through my study abroad program have connected to my graduation thesis.

University Library- Thailand

The University Library where I spent a lot of time- Thailand

Without missing the chance, challenge yourself in a genre that you have not yet experienced 

In HU's student platform ‘Momiji’, students can access a variety of information given by the university. If you actively move on your own initiative, you will be able to find a wide range of opportunities. I wanted to challenge myself into a new genre that I had never experienced, and as a result, I applied for the position of student staff in the Public Relations Group.

I also became a ‘study abroad advisor’ during my 4th year at HU. Using my study abroad experiences, I gave pieces of advice to HU students at the study abroad advising booth at the Student Plaza, two to three times a week. I assessed students for programs that suited each of them, and I also consulted with students who were going to attend a program about their fears and worries related to their foreign visit. During my first year at HU, I also consulted with higher year students regarding the study abroad programs, similar to what the current students are doing now, so I wanted to help the students who are challenging themselves in the same way.

Mr. Furuki consulting study abroad programs inquiries

The path to becoming a university staff after graduation. Without forgetting to challenge!

After graduation, I will work as a university administrative staff. The reason I chose this occupation is that the scope of my work will widen, and I wanted to continue to challenge myself into new things in the future. When I was in HU, I worked in many sections within the university as a part-time worker. When I start to work at the university administrative office, I would like to further, broaden, and expand my knowledge and perspectives.

A message to future Hiroshima University students

The HU campus is located in a place rich in nature, and at first glance, it may look boring. However, many opportunities are lying around, and if you wish, you can do anything you want. Using the chances provided by the university, please spend a fulfilling student life. Four years is shorter than you think, so I believe it is better if you do what you can do, when you can.

Mr. Furuki during the interview

After the interview―Interviewer’s Comments

Interviewer: Ms. Kataoka

I've been friends with Mr. Furuki for a long time, and I've heard many interesting stories from him. I will try to take advantage of the opportunities I have at HU and gain experience steadily. Mr. Furuki, thank you for taking some time in your busy schedule. I pray for your future success.

HU Student Interview Series, Public Relations Student Staff 
Mariko Kataoka

February 22, 2019
Photograph: Mariko Kataoka and Public Relations Group (Y)
Location: Student Plaza