Kyoto Student Voices

Eugenia O’Kelly
Science, Technology and Society, Class of 2014

"My time at Stanford has been some of the best years of my life, but perhaps the pinnacle was studying abroad in Kyoto. Living in a country so different from America gave me so much confidence in myself. It was the most fun and challenging adventure I have ever had - and all I can think about is when I can next go back!"

Hailun (Cindy) Ni
Energy Resources Engineering, Class of 2014

"I went to the Kyoto overseas program in 2014 and also participated in a summer internship in Tokyo. It has truly been one of the most memorable times of my Stanford career. I, along with my fellow Stanford friends, filled myself with rice burgers, sang "Let it go" at karaoke, and got to know the most wonderful bunch of Japanese people, who became my family and friends. I visited fascinating temples and shrines decorating every corner of Kyoto's streets. In summer, I explored Tokyo Gas, the largest gas utility company in Japan that affects every facet of Tokyo people's lives. My Japan experience has been the crown jewel of my time at Stanford, and my Stanford experience wouldn't be complete without it!"

Russ Islam
Electrical Engineering, Class of 2015

"I have only good things to say about my study abroad experience. The staff at the Stanford Japan Center did a wonderful job of helping students adjust to a very foreign culture. My host family and I were well matched and the hospitality they showed me went far beyond what was expected of them. The SJC staff helped students find an internship in Japan for the summer, and they even helped me find another internship for the following year too!"

Ruben Rodriguez Buchillon
Kyoto Spring Quarter 2014 | Material Science and Engineering, Class of 2016

"Living and experiencing Japanese culture has helped me truly develop a sense of appreciation for the differences in people, be it personalities, hobbies, or areas where they want to apply their efforts to. In my experience Japan is a place where everyone can go about their business without much interference, comments, or judgment from their surroundings, and completely focus on your interests, be it running, fashion, cosplay, programming, studying alone in a cafe, or anything in between."

Mary Chambers
Human Biology, Class of 2015

"My time in Japan has been an incredible experience. I was able to learn about Japanese culture and language to a degree that I never imagined possible, and the chance to immerse myself in a Japanese language environment rekindled my passion for language learning. The challenge of navigating a new environment using a foreign language has really increased my self-confidence and my willingness to try new things. Between that and the gains in my language abilities, I think that my participation in the Kyoto program will be a major benefit to me not only at Stanford, but for the rest of my life."

Eddie Dinh
Economics, Class of 2015

"Every day in Japan held something new and completely different from life at Stanford, from playing jan-ken-pon with my host brother, to bathing naked with strangers at onsen, to exploring Kyoto in the middle of the night after missing my last train home. Besides traveling and sightseeing in Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, and Hiroshima, I’ve met amazing people to share experiences with, both Stanford students and otherwise. And if there’s one more thing I could say to convince anyone considering studying in Kyoto, it’s that there’s really cheap sushi there that’s much better than the sushi in America!"

Vincent Sparacio
Electrical Engineering, Class of Class of 2015

"The Kyoto program is unique in that it is able to balance structured programming with individual freedom for self-growth and exploration. For me, this came in the form of gaining an overview of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism in my Kyoto coursework, while simultaneously living in a Zen monastery, complimented with meditation at different temples each week.  Not only was I able to breathe life into my coursework, but as someone with an interest in anthropology, the understanding of how people express their spirituality has put me in a unique position for future study of religious practices, especially in Asia and has made me more empathetic when interacting with people in my everyday life.

The exploration did not end there. With regard to my internship in Tokyo the BOSP coordinators were there at every step, from finding me a new internship after the first didn’t match my needs, helping me prepare my visa, and ultimately, connecting me with a company which I will be collaborating with in my graduate school research. During my internship at Fujitsu, I applied my engineering background to help develop the next generation of car radar and automatic breaking systems. Furthermore, I took the opportunity to network with as many people as possible, providing me diverse perspectives from which to grow as a researcher and individual. In addition to my Japanese friends, as I connected with the expatriate community, I have gained friends from Australia, Scotland, England, Russia, Ireland, Brazil, and Mexico.

The memories I created in Japan are ones that I will cherish forever, and I recommend anyone with an interest in studying there, regardless of language proficiency, to take this opportunity to create your own experiences and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible. BOSP provides the tools; it is simply up to you to put them to good use."