Sara Shibata

My name is Sara Shibata and I am currently a senior at the HUS program. Osaka University has allowed me to experience and learn different things, in and outside of the classroom.  One of the highlights of my four years at Osaka University is during my junior year, when I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Studying at University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Starting from September, 2018 I studied at UCSD as an exchange student from Osaka University. In addition, I received the Tobitate Ryugaku Japan Scholarship to study abroad at the United States, which allowed me to expand my opportunities at San Diego.

At the University of California, San Diego I had the opportunity to take a variety of classes. These included Human Science-related classes, such as: Psychology of Cognition, Psychology of Emotion, Sociology of Immigration, Chinese Politics. These classes gave me a broader insight of the knowledge I acquired in my first two years at Osaka University. Other than these classes, I also took some of the most popular classes offered at UCSD: Chinese language, Media, Public Policy, Financial Management (offered by the Rady School of Management, which is one of the best management schools located in the United States). My knowledge expanded beyond Human Sciences which is helping me as a senior at Osaka University. As I am writing my graduation thesis, my experience of learning a broader field of study has allowed me to look at things from different perspectives.

Although I was able to take many outstanding classes at UCSD, the most valuable thing I was able to gain from studying abroad at the United States was being confident about myself. During winter quarter, I decided to challenge myself and take five classes. Normally, all students at UCSD take three to four classes; since I am an exchange student, many of my friends who were full-time UCSD students recommended that I drop one class, and stick to taking four classes. However, as I only had a year at UCSD, I wanted to maximize my opportunities and possibilities. As a result, at the end of the winter quarter, I was awarded a “Provost Honors” which is only awarded to students who took more than 12 graded units and on top of that, got a GPA higher than 3.5. I was extremely proud of myself, and was glad that I decided to push myself.

Interning at the United Nations Association (UNA) San Diego Office  2018-2019

As part of being the Tobitate Ryugaku Japan Scholarship recipient, I had to commit to practical activities such as social work and volunteering. I chose to intern at the United Nations Association San Diego Office, and I was hired as a Social Media intern. Interning at the United Nations Association was a great experience for me; it helped me acquire new knowledge in global problems such as global warming or gender equality, as well as allowing me to obtain new skills in media, such as video editing, journalizing, and social media management. On top of that, interning as a “foreigner” at an institution where I absolutely knew no one, also helped me to build on my communication skills.

My experience at UCSD and interning at the UNA San Diego Office are definitely highlights of my undergraduate studies at Osaka University. Moreover, I feel that this experience has helped me to become even more motivated to study and contribute to Osaka University now that I have returned.

Sara Shibata