By Qingcheng Huang, the OISS 2012 Summer Intern
This week I interviewed Masato Tsuji, a Yale Summer Session student from the University of Tokyo. Masato usually sits at the “Chinese” table in the dining hall and I met him through one of my friends. He is quite humorous! We talked a lot about how Yale college life is different from Japan and China.
Qingcheng: Could you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
Masato: My name is Masato TSUJI. I'm a junior in the University of Tokyo in Japan, majoring in biology. I want to become a biologist in the future, and plan to get my PhD here in America. I'm taking the brain science course and engineering course this summer session.
Q: So why did you choose Yale and your current course?
M: I wanted to study abroad this summer so I searched my university's webpage. There are several other programs affiliated with by my university, but I chose Yale because I could learn science subjects, which seemed interesting. Also, I plan to apply to Yale for a PhD course after I graduate from my university.
Q: What do you think about Yale? Like the campus, the dorm, and the courses... What's the most obvious difference between Yale and your home university?
M: First, what surprised me was the campus itself. I've never seen this artistically beautiful and huge campus before. And the dorms here are also more beautiful and bigger than that in Japan. We can always make friends in the dining hall. Usually this doesn’t happen in Japan. Yale is full of interesting students and this environment is really stimulating and inspiring.
Second, I feel the attitude of faculty is kind of different. Yale faculty are eager to teach us and I can feel it.
Third, the style of leaning is different. Back in Japan students usually don’t study very hard and only start studying seriously when the final exam is just around the corner. Yale students are supposed to study constantly and I have a test every Friday to review that week's lectures.
Japanese university entrance exams only require subject scores. (I guess that’s part of the reasons why the University of Tokyo is only 20% female. Statistically speaking, boys study harder than girls in Japan, I guess.)
Q: How do you usually spend a day in Yale Summer Session (YSS)?
M: Usually I have many readings so, other than classes, I spend my day in the library. But sometimes I play with my friends in the buttery at night. In fact, I watched a movie with my friend last night!
Q: Did you join any activities sponsored by OISS/YSS? Such as the Ice Cream Social or the Boardwalk Festival?
M: I joined the Festival held in the Pierson courtyard on the first Friday. We enjoyed chatting and dancing in front of the bands. Apparently American students are really well used to dancing and this surprised me. It felt like I was watching a film. I made friends with many students there.
Plus, I joined a Holy Festival held by YSS. We threw paint powder on one another and it was totally crazy and fun!
Q: What do you plan to do after the your Yale program? Will you take a tour in U.S. or will you head back home directly? If you have a tour plan, could you share a bit with us?
M: I only have one free day so I'm planning to walk around New York City and watch Broadway.
Q: What was the happiest moment you experienced during your stay at Yale? And are there any difficulties you met?
M: First, I couldn’t keep up with the fast conversation among native English speakers. It was really hard for me because I didn’t expect to have so much difficulty chatting with Americans. So in the first two weeks I was kind of depressed. But over time I made friends with many students and I had more chances to talk with native speakers. I still can’t fully keep up with the fast chat among native speakers, but now I enjoy the challenge. Life at Yale is both interesting and fun.
For me this Yale life is idealistic. I can learn intensively what I want to learn and I can make friends with many interesting students from all over the world. I think this is important in the sense of deepening my own understanding of cultural diversity. I can get used to life using English.
This experience is my first time staying abroad! These days I can feel my relationships with my friends here getting better and that’s probably the happiest thing for me right now.
Q: Do you have any advice for other international students at Yale?
M: You are now in an environment where you can make friends with everyone and anyone! Try to make friends with someone you've not yet talked to. Often I see students having a meal alone in the dining hall. I think making friends is one of the most important things to gain from the Yale experience.