Michelle Yu (Taiwan) Graduated in 2021

My name is Michelle. I am an alumna of the Bachelor’s Program in Global Issues (BPGI) at Tsukuba University, having graduated in 2021. Throughout my tenure at the university, I cultivated a profound interest and passion in the domain of sustainability. Initially, my understanding of global warming was merely superficial. However, I eventually achieved a comprehensive grasp of its causes and underlying factors.

A significant component of our curriculum was dedicated to Project-Based Learning (PBL), an approach that facilitated our engagement with practical issues and illustrated methodologies for resolving them. In the culminating year of my studies, I was afforded the opportunity to devise my thesis topic, integrating the knowledge and skills acquired over four years to successfully complete it.

Upon graduation from BPGI, my fascination with sustainability deepened, prompting me to further my education at the University of Sydney, where I pursued a Master of Sustainability. After one and a half years of rigorous study, I reflected upon my life’s direction and resolved to embark on a career in sustainability. Presently, I am employed at PwC Taiwan, serving as a Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting Associate.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Tsukuba University and the esteemed faculty and colleagues who played pivotal roles in helping me discover my life’s passion and interest. I wholeheartedly recommend the BPGI program to students aspiring to venture into new academic and professional realms. It is an experience that undoubtedly opens new chapters in life.

Best wishes for your future endeavors.

Minh Nguyen (Vietnam) Graduated in 2022

I chose BPGI because it focuses on global issues and combines natural and social sciences to tackle important problems for sustainable development worldwide. I've always been interested in topics like governance, justice, and political movements, so I thought this program would give me a good understanding of political studies and international relations. Also, I was interested in Japan's ties with Vietnam and wanted to learn from Japan's democratic values. So far, studying in both Japanese and English has been enjoyable for me.

My time at BPGI was both challenging and rewarding. I worked on my bachelor dissertation, researching civilian welfare in war-affected countries in the Middle East. However, I faced difficulties transitioning to scientific social research methods due to limited training opportunities in methodology and due to the complexity of conflict research in political studies. I'm thankful though for the support I received from professors and peers at BPGI, who encouraged me along the way.

BPGI has influenced my academic path significantly. Through coursework and my dissertation, I've learned how to conduct credible research to support peacebuilding and good governance for civilians in war-affected countries. This foundation has led me to pursue a master's degree in global governance and post-conflict reconciliation at the School of International and Public Policy of Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. I really hope other BPGI students and future candidates can also achieve their academic and career goals passionately through the BPGI program. Good luck to you all!

Rachel Hyman (United States) Graduated in 2023

When I was considering where to pursue my bachelor's degree, I visited several universities in Japan, including Tsukuba, Keio, and Waseda. Among them, Tsukuba stood out to me for its natural surroundings and the genuine honesty of its faculty and staff regarding the program. Unlike other universities I visited, there was no pressure to persuade me into the program; instead, they provided transparent information that helped me make an informed decision. Additionally, the affordability of the fees compared to other institutions, especially in the US, was a significant factor in my decision-making process.

Ultimately, I chose BPGI because of its unique approach to education, which prioritizes projects over tests. This approach resonated with me as someone who struggled with standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. The project-based learning model not only allowed me to acquire a diverse range of knowledge but also empowered me to pursue my own research interests. Moreover, the opportunity to live in Japan was an invaluable aspect of my academic journey.

Reflecting on my experience at BPGI, I must acknowledge that there were organizational challenges that affected my overall satisfaction. The frequent turnover of staff every semester sometimes made it difficult to navigate the support system within the university. Despite these shortcomings, I appreciated the dedication of certain professors, the hands-on learning experiences, and the in-depth exploration of global issues offered by the program.

Despite these challenges, I believe that my time at BPGI provided me with invaluable lessons in teamwork and cultural immersion. Living in Japan enabled me to forge connections and experiences that have ultimately shaped my career trajectory. I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by BPGI, even though the journey post-graduation has presented its own set of challenges.

Tang Xinyu (China) Graduated in 2023

Hello, my name is Tang Xinyu. One of the characteristics I loved the most about my four years at BPGI was the immense support I received from my coordinators, who guided me both academically and emotionally.

In BPGI, we have the unique opportunity to explore both environment and social issues. While syllabus evolves every year, my 3rd year marked a turning point as we had the opportunity to conduct our own study project, which allowed us to delve into our own interest field. It was during this period that I confirmed my passion for urban planning, and I thoroughly enjoyed conducting research in this field. At that time, one of the coordinators specialized in urban planning and gave me so much advice and encouragement with the best of his ability for my study project and graduation thesis. I am deeply grateful to this professor; whose support really boosted my motivation and helped my personal growth.

Also, in our 4th year, BPGI provided us with the freedom to choose an advisor from any field for our graduation research. Finding the most suitable advisor, led to an enriching and enjoyable lab life. This experience helped me determine my choice to pursue graduate school in the field of urban planning at the University of Tsukuba.

To new students: Take initiative! Join new clubs, consider exchanges, and try as many new things as you want to explore yourself. Make friends and encounter professors who will support and guide your personal growth. And make sure to practice Japanese regularly!