Message from Dr. Ravankar Ankit

Please give a short introduction about yourself.

My name is Ankit Ravankar. I come from the town called “Ujjain” in the state of ‘Madhya Pradesh’ of India. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Production Engineering from the University of Pune in India in the year 2009. I came to Japan for my graduate studies as a MEXT scholar in the year 2010. I have obtained my Master’s degree and PhD degree from Hokkaido University in the year 2012 and 2015 respectively in Human Mechanical and Systems and Design Engineering. I have been living in Japan (Sapporo) for over 6 years now. I am currently employed full time in Japan and live with my family here.

Please give a simple description of your work at your workplace / laboratory.

I am presently employed as a full time Assistant Professor at the laboratory of Robotics and Dynamics at the Faculty of Engineering in Hokkaido University, Japan. My work involves cutting edge research in robotics and artificial intelligence. My research is focused on designing new algorithms for autonomous robots and applications, prototyping robot platforms for applications in agriculture, search and rescue robotics, computer vision, and other automation areas related to robotics. I am currently co-supervising Master and Doctoral students for their research activities involving robotics. I am also involved in educational activities for undergraduate and graduate students and teach several courses at both levels. Along with this, I am also involved with the ‘Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education’ at Hokkaido University and been appointed as an instructor for the special graduate program called ‘Nitobe School”. I am actively involved in internationalization activities at Hokkaido University.


What attracted you to choose Hokkaido University as a place to pursue your career?

I have always wanted to study in Japan for my Master’s and PhD degrees. From my undergraduate days I had a deep interest in robotics research. I chose Japan for my graduate studies as it is a world leader in robotics technology and has very high standards in engineering research. After completing my undergraduate degree from the University of Pune in India, I decided to try for the MEXT scholarship for my graduate studies in Japan. It was then that I came to know about Hokkaido University. I was mesmerized by the beautiful campus pictures and snow clad mountains around the Sapporo. Hokkaido university is also one of the top ranking universities in Japan and one of the seven imperial universities in Japan. I did not want to study and stay in a crowded place like Tokyo and instead wanted to enjoy the beauty of Hokkaido during my research study. Luckily in 2009, I could meet my supervisor in India when he visited for the Japan education fair. I discussed my possibilities of joining his research group at Hokkaido University for my graduate studies. Finally, I was successful in getting the MEXT scholarship and came to Hokkaido University in October, 2010. I cherish every single day since then. Hokkaido University has the largest and most beautiful campuses in Japan. You can clearly see all four seasons here and it’s breathtaking. The quality of research is world class and the atmosphere is truly international with students from around the world. Hokkaido is the perfect mixture of convenience and nature. The cities offer all the amenities of Western life mixed with the food and culture of Japan. And, a few steps out of the city, you will find mountains, fields, lakes, hot springs, and more. With four distinct seasons, you can enjoy something different all year round!

How do you like life in Japan and Japanese culture?

Life in Japan is amazing. Initially I had difficulties in getting used to things but it was only temporarily. I had enjoyed every single day of my life in Japan since my arrival and it has been a learning experience. I love Hokkaido so much that even my family “back home” refer to it as my home. I think the most important characteristics of the Japanese culture is its people. I have always found Japanese people to be extremely polite, helpful and welcoming. They would go out of the way to help a foreigner. The politeness and sincerity of people are reflected in their work and ethics. The discipline and zeal for perfection in their work is undisputed. I feel that everything here is ordered and that makes things much easier. Japan has a rich cultural history and there are many beautiful temples and shrines to visit. There are unique festivals and dance forms and I have enjoyed them a lot while my stay in Japan and even participated in few of them. The nature and wildlife is beautiful and well preserved. It is a perfect mixture of the modern and traditional lifestyles. The food is very delicious and every part of Japan has a traditional dish that uses fresh local ingredients. Japan is a technology giant and you will be amazed at the kind of things Japan has produced. From automated toilet seats to robots serving in restaurants, everything catches your breath. Travelling is very easy and safe because of excellent public transportation system that is economical. I feel everything in Japan is perfect and I have enjoyed my stay in Japan.

      

                   Please give a message to students or researchers in your home country who may be thinking about studying in Japan?

                   Japan is an excellent country to pursue your undergraduate or graduate studies. The universities in Japan have very high research
                   standards and excellent facilities. Even in terms of ranking many of the Japanese national universities are featured in the top 100
                   world university rankings and studying in the university is a great learning experience as an international student. Moreover,
                   many universities in Japan are now offering courses that are taught entirely in English. Unlike western countries the admission fees to
                   Japanese universities are relatively low. Japan offers lots of scholarships to international students to support their living. One of worrying
                   factor for many international students is the language barrier but most universities offer free Japanese language training courses that
                   ease your life in Japan. Most universities offer excellent support system for international students. Japanese universities are truly
                   international and the number of international students are increasing every year. Job prospects after graduation are high if you have 
                   some Japanese proficiency. I would say that life in Japan is very exciting. I would strongly recommend you to consider Japan
                   as your choice for future studies.