GENV Student Voices: Who are the students of GENV? Why did they apply to GENV?

Getting to know GENV students

We want you to get to know the students at GENV. Our student website working group team sent the word out to fellow students to share their voices with those of you who are interested in applying to GENV to build not only your academic knowledge and expertise, but broaden your life experiences. Not to mention make new friends with a fantastic group of students from all around the world. What makes GENV such a great graduate school is not only the cutting-edge interdisciplinary program, but the students, people of different nationalities, knowledge and worldviews who share the common goal of becoming part of a growing number of professionals working together to solve environmental problems.

Here are the questions our student website working group asked, and following are the voices of students.

  1. Where are you from and what's your background?
  2. Why did you choose global environmental studies at Sophia University?
  3. How has the multicultural aspect and inter-disciplinary approach of the programme influenced you?
  4. What are your career aspirations?
  5. How are you finding life in Japan?

Heather Lueck

  1. I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the USA. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Geography. Since high school, I have had a deep interest in environmental studies and wanted to continue along with that into college.
  2. I chose to partake in the Global Environmental Studies Program at Sophia University because I wanted to continue my environmental studies education and because I am fond of Japan. I have been to Japan twice before entering this program, and wanted to come again. Applying for this program just seemed like the natural next step for me to do, combining two things I enjoy, environmental studies and Japanese culture. As well, Sophia U. had a good reputation among many of my Japanese friends as being a very international school, so I wanted to become a part of this great community and broaden my international knowledge and experiences.
  3. I have learned so much from my professors and fellow peers. Not only have I learned about the various environmental problems that affect countries and regions, I have also learned about my peers’ culture and lifestyles from their homeland. I have met many wonderful people from all over the world and I hope to remain friends with them into the far future. If the opportunity arises, I wish to visit my many friends’ home country.
  4. I would like to find a career related to my field of study, therefore I am looking into a career in Vertical Farming. Actually, my research is on vertical farming, and I really enjoyed learning about this type of enterprise. I feel this enterprise has great potential in the future and will be a fulfilling career for me. Another option for me would be to work for the Government as a Foreign Service Officer. I would possibly choose this path as a career because this is one way to help implement more stringent environmental policies globally.
  5. Life in Japan has been a difficult but rewarding experience. Getting used to tight, small spaces and queues for so many places and events was, and still is a challenge, but the food is delicious, the public transportation is amazing, the people are very kind, and the country’s scenery is beautiful. I will be graduating soon, returning to the USA most likely, but I will always consider Japan as a second home and will visit as often as I can.

Carlos Emilio Gonzalez Rivera

  1. I was born and raised in Guatemala. I majored in manufacture engineering with a focus on quality management, particularly, on ISO9001 quality management systems.
  2. While studying ISO certifications, I became aware of the importance of sustainability in production (manufacturing), and became interested in schemes that promote sustainability. The Global Environmental Studies program offered a variety of courses focused on sustainability in business, and allowed me to conduct research on my topic of interest.
  3. I got the chance to meet people from all over the world and I have been able to see how different the situation of the environment is across different countries. This allowed me to learn from successful experiences, and to think of solutions on how to improve the situation in countries with less developed environmental management, including my own country. The inter-disciplinary approach changed my perspective of sustainability and made me realize how broad a concept it is.
  4. I would like to apply the knowledge and tools that I have learned in this program in manufacturing/ production management, either by leading a sustainability department or by advising companies as a consultant.
  5. Enjoyable. There is so much to learn from Japan, not only regarding environmental management but also from its culture and values. School life is demanding, but the results and knowledge you get are reassuring, so it’s worth it.

Yingfei Hu

  1. I am from Hunan, a province of south-central China. I graduated from Northeast Forestry University, located in Harbin, and my major was Tourism Administration and related to eco-tourism. During my undergraduate program, I took some courses related to environmental issues in the context of the tourism industry.
  2. Firstly, as one of the most famous private universities in Japan, Sophia University is located in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, which gives us students plenty of chances to get access to many advanced resources to broaden our vision and enrich our experiences. Secondly, Sophia is renowned for its international study environment where we can exchange opinions and make friends with students all over the world. More importantly, the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies has many good professors with colorful backgrounds and specializes in studying environmental economics, ecological economics, and environmental finance and in solving global environmental problems from diverse directions, which are what I have been being interested in. Therefore, Sophia is a perfect choice for me.
  3. My major was more related to economics and management in tourism when I was an undergraduate student. Even though I had learned something relevant to the environment, I did not have a general and systematic knowledge of global environmental issues. Our graduate school provides many different courses taught by professors from different countries with different backgrounds, which not only helps us better understand the environmental problems from international, multicultural and inter-disciplinary aspects but also gives us the important opportunity to explore different courses to find a certain research direction which we are really interested in or good at.
  4. I plan to continue my Ph.D. program in Japan after my graduation from the master program. I love and enjoy doing research, so I probably would stay in academia and try to make as many contributions as I can to environmental protection in the future.
  5. Japan is a very special country and has its own advantages and disadvantages. To me, I like most Japanese culture and this country’s safety system. As a developed country, Japan has made many outstanding achievements and has set a good example to many other countries in many different fields. I have been living in Japan for only one and a half years while Japan is a quite complex country, which means there is still a lot waiting for me to explore, and I am quite looking forward to it.

Iain Hall

  1. I am from the UK. I have a BSc in Environmental Biology but, before coming to Sophia University, I had been working for 15 years in medical communications in London.
  2. I wanted to redirect my career by returning to education, refocusing on the environment, and doing so overseas. The program at Sophia appealed to me as it offered everything I was looking for; a broad and flexible curriculum that would allow me to find my field of interest, and an international faculty offering varied experience and expertise. I felt very confident that I would be able to find my niche at Sophia.
  3. The multicultural aspect of the program is, I think, vital to developing a good understanding of the environment. With classmates from all over the world, we are able to explore various environmental issues and priorities from different perspectives, learning from each other. This has influenced the way I think about the environment and environmental issues in a very positive way. Of course, it’s also great to make new friends from around the world.
  4. If all goes well with my Masters, I hope that the next step for me will be to continue my research by undertaking a PhD.
  5. Living in Japan has been my first experience of living overseas, and has been a very positive experience. There are challenges to international living, but these are outweighed by all the new opportunities and experiences that it offers.

Gerald Elton Kamanga

  1. I am from Malawi, Africa. My background is forest resources management.
  2. I found Sophia University to be a prestigious, a competitive, and a leading private institution of higher learning in Japan. After discovering that the institution has a Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, I convinced myself that it was a perfect choice, which could help me broaden my understanding of global environmental issues and give me a platform to acquire the relevant knowledge.
  3. The multicultural aspect and inter-disciplinary approach of the program provide the conducive environment for sharing ideas freely with fellow students and lecturers from across the world, some of whom are prominent researchers and experts in various fields. This has improved my understanding of various approaches to environmental issues as applied in different parts of the world.
  4. I would like to obtain a PhD here in a bid to be nurtured into becoming a key and dynamic being with the ability to influence environmental policy change for the development of my country.
  5. Life in Japan is generally incredible. With so many amenities around, one would always have time to relax after hectic school days. With a number of study trips organized by the graduate school to various parts of the archipelago, there is always an opportunity (at least once, if not all the time) for an entirely different and hilarious experience.

Sirikaan Prachumyaat

  1. I'm originally from Thailand, but have been living overseas for half of my life due to my dad’s work. During my last term in high school, environmental issues/topics were brought up quite often in class discussions. This formed my interests regarding the environment, and I decided to choose Environmental Science for my bachelor’s degree. After graduating, I joined the workforce right away, hoping to gain working experience and by working for a corporate company a couple of years. However, I realized my passion for environmental studies is still present and so I would like to further my education related to it, and I started looking for Master’s program that suits my personal/future goals.
  2. One of the main reasons for my decision to choose GES at Sophia University was the word “global”. Since my undergraduate studies, I’ve always believed that the environment and environmental issues are not specific to a certain place, but that everything is connected and linked globally. The main aspect of the program that I find to be very interesting is to have students think outside the box and learn how to tackle environmental issue/problems from a global standpoint. Not only that, but GES offers different disciplines throughout its course, from science to business and social sciences, so that students can have a broad knowledge related to environmental policies, sustainable business, and practices and science.
  3. The program lets me think from a wider viewpoint. This is also because the program is set up in a way that is very diverse. I get to meet new people from around the world every term, and meeting new people and exchanging ideas and knowledge not only has broadened my perspectives, but also made me more open-minded and internationally adept, which could be very beneficial in the future.
  4. I specifically chose the GES program because I believe that it will help lay a foundation for me to work in a multicultural organization such as the United Nations, specifically the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), or to work in an environmental R&D department where I can utilize the knowledge I have gained in order to help both the business and the environment, if possible.
  5. Life in Japan has been a thrill ride. It is undeniably an amazing experience for me. Professors are willing to help and the program is very diverse giving me the chance to meet new people. Although there are ups and downs, like with any other things in life, being here in Japan has been eye-opening. Japan is a great place to see the integration of technology and the environment and to see how everyday life can be very convenient as well as green at the same time. For me as a city girl, this is very important ? the balance between the city and nature. Other than that, Japanese history and culture are very interesting, and there are many matsuri/festivals to enjoy.

Salome Jose Mausse

  1. I am from Mozambique. I worked for the government, and I did my undergraduate studies in Pedagogical University in Maputo province. My major was in Environmental Management Planning and Community Development.
  2. I chose global environmental studies because it relates to my career, because it has a global orientation, and because I liked the philosophy of the university.
  3. I have made many good experiences, and I hope to share all these experiences soon.
  4. My career aspiration is to positively change the life of people in my community.
  5. Life in Japan is fine. Good culture, and people are accommodative.

Sara Palombo

  1. I am from Italy, and I come from a small town on the Adriatic Sea. I graduated in foreign languages education, and I studied Japanese and Chinese. I always have been involved in multicultural volunteering or activities within the EU. Three years ago, I moved to the UAE and started to work as an airline cabin crew. This experience made me discover a new world: the Middle Eastern culture and the interest I have in environmental matters.
  2. I chose Sophia University because it offers one of the best study environments I have ever known.
  3. It strenghtened my will to engage in environmental research more deeply, and it is guiding me in several choices of my life.
  4. I aspire to work in an international organization and work for the safeguard of the Mediterranean area's environment. I hope I will inspire people and be inspired as well.
  5. Life in Tokyo is very chaotic, but at the same time, this city gives you many possibilities and chances you could never find anywhere else. It is a life-learning experience.

Yuxi Yang

  1. I am from Inner Mongolia of China. I majored in Japanese literature in my undergraduate studies.
  2. In my junior year, I studied in Japan as an exchange student. During my studying time in Japan, I happened to know a student who was studying global environmental studies at Sophia University, so I had a chance to visit Sophia University and our faculty. I heard a lot from her about the faculty, and I was attracted by the multicultural environment here. And from that time I told myself I want to study here.
  3. As a student whose major is Japanese in the undergraduate, I think the inter-disciplinary approach of the program helped me to acquire a broad knowledge of environmental issues. At the same time, as our professors are from different backgrounds, I obtained a lot of advice from them, and after a while of studying, I started focusing on the part I am interested deeply.
  4. Actually, studying the global environment has changed me a lot ? not only my living styles, but also how I understand this world. I am going to work in Japan, and even if it does not turn out to be related to environment, I still will continue my environmentally friendly living style and follow environmental issues closely.
  5. I enjoy life in Japan. Because I update my knowledge every day in class, I talk with my friends about the stories in their countries. I visit different places of Japan to find the beauty of this country, and I also have a part-time job during my spare time. The most important thing is by doing these, I feel I am growing up, and I become more confident and clearer about my future.