Please give a short introduction of yourself.

Hello, My name is Iswarya. I’m currently a 3rd year civil engineering student in Kyushu University, Fukuoka. I hail from Tuticorin, a town in the southern part of Tamil Nadu and completed my high school in Bishop Cotton Girls School, Bangalore. Favorite pastimes include reading and a new found enthusiasm for running. Also an active member of various associations such as IUPE students union (International Undergraduate Program in English), student ambassador for QUBES website (student website made for /by IUPE Engineering students), international tourism ambassador for Itoshima City new the university campus and the president elect of KUFSA (Kyushu University Foreign Students Association). As an intern trainee, did a brief stint with Shimizu Corp. India for Isuzu Motors’ factory construction, last year. My research interests lie in the field of environmental economics and hope to further progress it.





What is your favorite thing about Fukuoka?

Fukuoka is the fifth biggest city in Japan and has been featured in Monocle as one of the Top most livable cities in the world. And as a resident of Fukuoka, I totally agree. Cost of living isn’t as high as Tokyo, but the quality of life is equally good. I love how Fukuoka is a perfect blend of technological advancements and traditions. It’s got both the fast-paced downtown area and the soothing countryside. The people are amazingly nice and go out of the way to help a stranger. The city is well connected by public transport systems and one doesn’t necessarily need to have a car to get around. Fukuoka is home to the world-famous Hakata tonkotsu (pork soup) ramen, with restaurants starting branches abroad as well. Fukuoka is also the hometown of Softbank Hawks baseball team and it is super fun to watch them win and the staggering amount of sale that follows as a celebration.




In what way has your impression of Fukuoka or Japan changed since coming here?

Back home in India, there is a notion that Japan is a very expensive country to live in. That image has broken down ever since moving to Japan and living here for about three years now. As long as you plan your finances well, it is not an issue at all. Also initially, I used to think that Japanese language is hard. It is very different from Indian languages, hence time consuming to learn but it is definitely an added feather to your cap and gives you an extra edge in the workforce apart from making your daily life easy.


What attracted you to choose Kyushu University as a place to study?

Kyushu University is one of the seven former imperial universities of Japan, and without doubt one of the best in the country and also in the world. Kyushu University offered the topic of my interest in the undergraduate program in English and the faculties were great. The university’s new Ito campus has a great work environment for research, away from the city sprawl. On-campus accommodations were available and safety aspects were very high. The admission procedures were very clear and support was provided, whenever required. There is a tuition waiver of about 50% for international students. To top it all, Kyushu University also provided me with a very generous scholarship to continue my education. These were the main reasons for me to choose Kyudai for my under-graduation.



In what way did you adjust yourself to Japanese culture?

I’ve become more soft-spoken and socially attentive and responsible. I make it a point to be punctual and be always on time, to show the other person that you respect and value their time and effort. Food was the main factor that needed a lot of getting used to, for me. But after being here for sometime now, I can say that I’m beginning to love Japanese cuisine and exploring Japan through the culinary aspect more.



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

Not many people are aware of the academic opportunities available in Japan. Now is the time to make use of good opportunities, explore the untapped sources and work on some top-notch research. Simply put, don’t be afraid. Go for it!
Another word of advice that I would like to share with to-be researchers in Japan is to try to learn some basic Japanese before going there. It will be really helpful, making the transition and settling-in process more smooth. Learning the language is not necessary, but recommended.