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Yasuhiro KANEMAKI FS2016-17, The University of Tokyo | from Japan to Taiwan

As a recipient of the Fung Scholarships, I would like to express my appreciation for your support on my exchange program.


I am currently majoring in human geography at The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), and studied for two semesters as an exchange student at National Taiwan University (NTU) with the scholarship. I have completed 21 credits on the program, through which I have not only had quite a few opportunities to broaden my academic horizon, but also got acquainted with best friends in Taiwan.


The main reason why I decided to study in Taiwan is to have a better command of Chinese Mandarin while getting familiar with Taiwanese society and culture. As a student in geography major, it is always amazing to get to know many aspects of a particular country, and I believe language is an essential tool to achieve that.


Although I had studied Mandarin for two years before going to Taiwan, my Mandarin was not enough to live a life there without any issue especially in lectures taught in Chinese, and I sometimes felt hopeless when faced with assignments. At the same time, however, it was quite satisfying to see the progress in my language skills.


Among the several lectures I have taken at NTU, a class on cultural geography impressed me the most due to the professor’s dedication to the classes and the way by which he let us think and experience ourselves the methodology of researches. Along with several classmates, I traveled more than ten times to a fishing village on the northern coast, where we did fieldworks on the personal histories of residents there and made a couple of video clips representing their stories. I had never thought filming a clip could be a part of geography, but at last was convinced that the way to approach to an informant was quite similar to some fieldwork, and the class gave me some clues for advanced research.


Aside from the classes, I, as a cycling enthusiast, have ridden a thousand kilometers in Taiwan and visited quite a few places around the island. Cycling and doing workouts with friends is definitely one of the unforgettable memories there.


After I came back to Japan, while taking some classes in UTokyo, I started thinking seriously about my future course, and will take part in some internships. I am notsure if the experiences in Taiwan has something to do with a job I will be involved in, but I will make the most of what I learned during the two semesters.


(Right) Yasuhiro KANEMAKI