Category Archives: International

Nagashi Somen Festival Delights NAIST Community with Summer Splash

July 13, 2023 – Nara, Japan

In a fusion of tradition and innovation, the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) hosted a captivating Nagashi Somen festival on July 13, 2023. Organized by the NAIST Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS), this unique event brought together the NAIST community for a day of joyful indulgence and cultural celebration.

Nagashi Somen, a traditional Japanese summer activity, took center stage as participants engaged in the art of catching flowing somen noodles along a bamboo pipe. Against the backdrop of NAIST’s lush campus, a long bamboo flume was set up, resembling a whimsical waterslide. The bamboo was cut from one of the NAIST staff’s garden, Mr. Robert King, and students helped assemble the bamboo slide.

The heart of the festival lay in the flowing water, which serenaded the bamboo flume, mimicking a stream. Those thin, delightful strands of somen noodles danced along this waterway, creating an edible adventure. Laughter and cheers filled the air as attendees harnessed their chopstick skills to capture the swift-flowing noodles.

Fresh tomatoes and sweet jelly were also run through the stream alongside the noodles. Participants held bowls of delectable dipping sauce to add an extra depth of flavor to their captured noodle treasures. A symphony of food, music, and flavors wove together to create an unforgettable experience on campus.

Organizers noted that the event was not only about savoring noodles but also about fostering a sense of camaraderie and a friendly campus environment. Participants, which included students, staff, and faculty members, vied to catch the most somen noodles, adding an element of lighthearted rivalry.

The Nagashi Somen festival provided more than just a culinary experience. It showcased the power of community, tradition, and cross-cultural connections. As attendees celebrated this age-old tradition, they forged new bonds and shared smiles, regardless of their cultural backgrounds.

“While Nagashi Somen is a traditional Japanese event, even Japanese aren’t accustomed to cutting and splitting bamboo to make the flume, so both Japanese and international students were able to have a unique experience as they worked together,” remarked Mr. King. “Students were able to meet new people and developed ties as they discussed how to proceed, assigned tasks, and interacted to fine-tune their set-up, similar to a hands-on project-based learning class. We hope to see even more students next year!”

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the Nagashi Somen festival at NAIST concluded with hearts full of delight and stomachs full of noodles. With chopsticks in hand and laughter in the air, the NAIST community showed once again that innovation and tradition can beautifully intertwine, creating moments of bliss.

About NAIST:

The Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) is renowned for its cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of science and technology. Situated in the historic city of Nara, NAIST offers a unique blend of academic excellence and a vibrant cultural environment. The Nagashi Somen festival was a testament to NAIST’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community.


NAIST Center for International Students and Scholars


Phone: +81-743-72-6240


Visit NAIST’s official website for more information on upcoming events and activities:

NAIST Sports Day 2023

On the bright 9th of June, the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) campus came alive with excitement as students gathered for the much-awaited Sports Day. This event marked a significant milestone, being the first student-led campus-wide sports activity since the COVID-19 pandemic. But of course, this event would not be possible without the support and guidance of the Center for International Students and Scholars and the members of the NAIST Global Students Network (GSK).

NAIST GSK and representatives from the CISS

With the belief that physical and mental health are interconnected, the event aimed to promote the well-being of its researchers through a series of engaging team-building activities. Sports Day emphasized the importance of maintaining a sound body and mind for the overall growth and success of its students. With the demanding nature of research work, it was an opportunity for students to relax and enjoy while engaging in activities that would exercise both their bodies and brains.

The NAIST Soccer Field served as the vibrant backdrop for Sports Day, radiating a sense of enthusiasm and camaraderie. The events featured three engaging team-building activities, each catering to a specific aspect of personal development. The first activity, “Capture the Flag,” focused on speed and agility. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the adrenaline rush as they raced across the arena, strategizing and dodging water splatters to reach the enemy’s base.

The second activity, “Tug of War,” not only tested participants’ strength and perseverance but also highlighted the importance of teamwork and synchronization. Students gathered in teams, gripping tightly onto the rope, as they pulled with all their might, fostering a spirit of unity and cooperation.

The final activity, “Scavenger Hunt,” stimulated participants’ mental abilities and problem-solving skills. The entire NAIST campus became a playground as students embarked on a thrilling hunt for hidden stickers. Puzzling pictures were posted on the NAIST GSK Twitter account, and participants raced against time to decipher the clues and locate the stickers’ whereabouts.

This event brought the student community together, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Participants displayed remarkable enthusiasm and sportsmanship, cheering on their fellow teammates and opponents alike. The event provided a platform for students to take a break from their academic pursuits and engage in healthy competition, recharging their minds and bodies.

The NAIST Sports Day 2023 successfully exemplified the institution’s commitment to outgrowing limits. By emphasizing the relationship between physical and mental health, NAIST provided its students with a platform to exercise their bodies, stimulate their minds, and strengthen their social bonds. This remarkable event showcased the resilience and unity of the NAIST community.

As the sun set on the NAIST Sports Day 2023, participants carried with them memories of teamwork, friendship, and the shared joy of being part of the NAIST community.


Bloopers and highlights

NAIST Students on Santa Claus’ Mission

Christmas is one of the most important holidays in Christianity, and it has also been adopted by other cultures worldwide — including Japan. Historically, over 2000 years ago, a new star appeared in the sky and lightened the way of people to Vifleem/Bethlehem to come and meet their Saver and Missiya/Messiah. Among one of the first visitors of a newborn baby were three wise men. They traveled a long way from the Far East as they expected this event. They brought to Jesus three presents – gold, frankincense, and Mirra. Since then, giving presents on Christmas has had a very special meaning.

Even though Christianity is not popular religion in Japan, people still like to enjoy Christmas and have fun. The GSK Association of NAIST students decided to celebrate Christmas with our precious staff members from various departments. Christmas presents were given to the staff across campus as a sign of appreciation for their service and hard work for the students.

Gift wrapping the Christmas presents

The journey began by visiting the offices of three academic divisions of NAIST: Biological Science, Information Science, and Material Science. These divisions play a crucial role in supporting student and faculty members in their research endeavors, producing significant academic breakthroughs. Additionally, they provide invaluable assistance to students, guiding them through their studies and offering support on various matters. After spreading joy in these divisions, the students continued to share presents with other NAIST offices and facilities.

The students went to the office of Biological Sciences and thanked them for their hard work.
Merry Christmas to the Information Science Office!
Season’s greetings to the Materials Science office

These offices include the International Affairs Office, which serves as an essential cornerstone for foreign students studying in Japan. Their tireless efforts contribute to creating a welcoming environment and helping students integrate seamlessly into the NAIST community. The Career Services office also deserves special mention, as they guide and support students in their pursuit of future job opportunities in prestigious companies and universities after their time at NAIST. The Student Affairs section plays a vital role in enhancing the overall campus experience, providing valuable resources and support for students’ daily lives. Moreover, the Planning and General Affairs division assists students with research administration, ensuring the smooth progress of their academic pursuits. Even the Health Care Center, always ready to provide medical care and support during times of illness or injury, deserves our gratitude. Finally, the students also thanked the cafeteria (shokudo) and convenience store (konbini), who cook and sell food and essential daily items that are readily available to sustain us.

Wishing the International Students Affairs Section a Merry Christmas
Bringing the Christmas spirit to the Career Services Office
Giving thanks to the Planning and General Affairs Division
Giving gratitude to the Health Care Center for caring for us when sick/injured.
Sending thanks to the NAIST shokudo (cafeteria) and konbini (convenience store)
Thanking the Student Affairs office

As students of NAIST, represented by the NAIST GSK Committee, we are immensely thankful for the outstanding services and unwavering support provided by the NAIST faculty, staff, and administration. Through this Christmas gift-giving mission, we aimed to express our deep gratitude and spread joy throughout the campus. The spirit of Christmas embodies the values of love, appreciation, and togetherness, and we are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful season with our NAIST community. May the warmth and happiness of this festive season continue to brighten our lives throughout the year.

The NAIST GSK committee celebrating Christmas

NAIST Seed Planting in Ikoma

Taking a break from research and being surrounded by computers and lab equipment, international students were able to spend one morning around Takayama Chikurin-en ( to experience planting rice and preparing matcha. This event was organized by NAIST and Ikoma City. We were able to talk with the citizens of Ikoma and even had the opportunity to meet the mayor!

NAIST provided us with gloves, socks, and a towel for the event (thank you!), and we got down in the mud to start planting. Farmers showed us the proper way to grab the seedlings and put them in the ground. It was a relaxing experience for some, but others were a bit more competitive and wanted to finish; I didn’t finish, though.

Our time was up, and most of us were not able to finish our lanes. Fortunately, they had tractors that could finish much faster than us (glad to see how modernized the agricultural sector had become). We washed up and headed towards Takayama Chikurin-en for a brief tour and to learn about preparing matcha. The staff showed us the proper way to prepare matcha using 茶筌 (chasen). I didn’t know it would be so tiring to whisk tea, but it was the proper way to do it.

We ended the event by talking with Ikoma citizens, fellow students, and NAIST staff and taking photos together in on the open yard. It was nice to spend time in the rice fields and take a break from research and the big cities like Osaka. It was also a great opportunity to meet locals and new friends; they were also very eager to meet international students living in the city!

Group photo by NAIST staff

NAIST Sports Club

Amidst the peaceful quiet of NAIST, there are times you can hear the sounds of joyous cheers and balls bouncing on concrete. On these nights, you can trace the sound to the multipurpose outdoor court of NAIST. Upon looking, you may see several people from different countries and continents come together to enjoy a game of volleyball (and other sports). This is volleyball night and everyone is welcome here to come and join.

Established in the spring of 2022, the NAIST Sports Club has evolved into a regular weekly session of destress, rest, and relaxation. Though some would argue that playing volleyball for over 3 hours is not rest; it is definitely a much sought-after break from research and work.

What started off as a purely casual game for beginners, volleyball night has transformed into a fun competitive match between friends with moments straight out of the manga Haikyuu. At first, people didn’t even know how to receive the ball properly. A mixture of different hand gestures and positions were used to play volleyball; sometimes even feet were preferred. “It didn’t look like volleyball at the start,” says Maria from Colombia, “but eventually people started learning.” True enough, rallies became longer and matches became more intense. Despite that, funny flops and hilarious moments are still a natural occurrence. “Though we’re improving a lot, beginners are still welcome and we still make a lot of mistakes that we just laugh about.”  

Not even storms and rain can stop people from playing. On several occasions, the players would continue forth and enjoy the game under the rain. “It’s a perfect way to cool off during the summer,” says Aimé from France.

Since only one volleyball court is available and only a limited number of people can play at once, others also play various sports while waiting. You can see people playing basketball or soccer on the sidelines while waiting for their turn. Thus, even though some aren’t too good at volleyball, they can still enjoy other sports or also talk to people on the side.  

“It really brings people together,” says Kostja from Russia. At NAIST where often it becomes too quiet and isolating, volleyball night allows students to get together and have some fun. “I met my friends at NAIST because of volleyball. Despite it not being an official club, it’s the biggest and most popular one in NAIST.”

“As an internship student, volleyball club was the perfect opportunity to make friends at NAIST,” shared Berat from Turkey. “The club welcomes players regardless of their experience and everyone is always happy to share their knowledge.”

“The best decision in my entire time in Japan!” exclaimed Daniel from Germany. “Everyone here is the same, no matter where you are from, no matter what gender, no matter how good at volleyball. Having fun together is what counts.”

Indeed, no matter the season, weather, or temperature, students from all over NAIST come together to enjoy a game of volleyball and play some sports. It’s definitely one of the things people look forward to during the week.

(All NAIST members are free to join volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm)

Brains in Bordeaux

Truly understanding the brain remains to be one of the biggest problems in modern science. It is so interesting because solving this is not only technically challenging but also deeply personal. We humans are innately curious as to how things work and continuously learn and update our models about the world, yet the organ that gives us these amazing abilities is itself poorly understood. This is what pulled me to study the brain and behavior and to become an aspiring neuroscientist and neuroengineer.

The University of Bordeaux, France

Thus, amidst the global pandemic, I was determined to learn more about neuroscience. I searched online for hands-on neuroscience training courses, and found that the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme was an excellent opportunity. A year before the course started, I applied to the program, but I still had to find additional funding to support my travel. Fortuitously, I received an email from the Japan Neuroscience Society (JNS) in partnership with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) about a travel grant to which I immediately applied. Thankfully I was accepted to both the CAJAL course and the JNS-FENS grant, but the coronavirus would end up delaying the course. Despite this, I was glad that the training would still be pushing through live, because I knew learning hands-on would be much better.

And I was proven right. Against all odds of travel restrictions and visa requirements, attending the CAJAL Course on Optogenetics, Chemogenetics, and Biosensors for Cellular and Circuit Neuroscience (OCBCCN) in-person was an unforgettable experience that helped me learn both broad and deep knowledge in the latest techniques for studying neurons and the brain. Furthermore, being in the Bordeaux School of Neuroscience, surrounded by facilities and people dedicated to neuroscience, was a refreshing atmosphere for me. The course directors, lecturers, and instructors were very welcoming. They facilitated interesting discussions and organized challenging projects. The students and participants were all very friendly and eager to learn. Overall, the environment was that of open-discussion and freedom to ask any questions.

At first, we introduced ourselves and our research in an oral presentation. Then we had a poster session over beers and pizza. The casual atmosphere helped break the ice and encouraged lively conversations about science. We were 20 students from around the world, and I was the only one from East and Southeast Asia. Throughout the course we would receive excellent lectures from the leading experts in the field – most of whom also attended live to have opportunities for in-depth discussions. We were taught the latest developments in optogenetics, biosensors, and optical technology applied to calcium or voltage imaging, optical neuromodulation, behavioral analysis, and many other interesting topics. I met the people whom I read from in journals, which was quite astounding. It was incredible that I could participate in scientific discussions and casual conversations with world-class neuroscientists and neuroengineers.

I also participated in 2 different hands-on projects. The first was on multi-color fiber photometry in freely-behaving animals, and the second was on ultrafast two-photon voltage imaging in vivo.  These two projects were some of the most cutting-edge techniques being used in neuroscience today. It was such a great learning experience because I was able to see the entire workflow of doing such experiments. They also taught us some additional tips and tricks, and I learned even more from performing the experiments hands-on. Since the experts were right beside me, it was very easy to get feedback and learn in the process of working. First-hand experience with the techniques allowed me to see the minute details and challenges from setting-up the experiments up until analyzing the data. We also presented our projects and results to get helpful advice and further insight from the audience.

Every day – from 9 am to 9 pm – we would spend time in the university for lectures and experiments, and so projects that would take several months were accomplished in less than a month. It was a very productive 3 weeks indeed, but we made sure to balance this with some fun as well. We only had 3 days of free time, so we used this to see the beautiful city of Bordeaux and its nearby towns. I was able to visit some historical monuments, city markets, and a light show museum. The food and drinks were wonderful, and even better was the camaraderie we formed. 

Given more time, I’m sure there was a lot more to learn and experience, but even so, the duration of the course was very well-utilized and already jampacked with great learnings and fun experiences. Near the end of the course, I remember feeling very accomplished because I was able to learn so many new things and meet new people. The course made me more eager to continue my PhD research once I got back to NAIST, and it allowed me to gain connections that may help in the future, especially when facing difficulties with my own project.

CAJAL Course directors, instructors, and students

I am very thankful to the CAJAL course organizers, directors, lecturers, instructors, and fellow students for the magnificent experience. I would also like to thank the JNS-FENS committee for helping me fund this once in a lifetime opportunity, and more importantly, for promoting international exchange. I would definitely recommend fellow neuroscientists to take this opportunity.

This experience would not have been possible without NAIST’s mission to train global researchers. I extend my deepest gratitude to NAIST, my laboratory, my sensei and staff for all the support and care they gave during this experience. I am sure my experience in CAJAL would help me, not only in my PhD, but also in my overarching goal of truly understanding the brain. This was a great opportunity for me to “Outgrow my limits”.

NAIST Study Abroad Fair 2021

Last October 9, 2021, NAIST held an online international study fair. Students from all over the world joined in a virtual gathering to learn and ask about life and studying at NAIST. Over 100 participants joined, and several of the NAIST faculty, staff, and student ambassadors attended in order to carry out the event.

At first, the NAIST President recorded a message for the event, and Masako Shimamoto, Ph.D. from the Division for Global Education gave a general introduction of NAIST. The presentation showcased the campus demographic, and as of writing, the Graduate School of Science and Technology accommodates 697 Master’s and 349 Ph.D. students, 196 faculty, and 167 administrative staff. This high staff-to-student ratio is one advantage of being in a tight-knit community like NAIST.

Proudly, NAIST is part of two flagship projects of MEXT, namely: the Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research and the Top Global University Project. These programs fund NAIST to promote international and global research and higher education. In addition, NAIST has also produced thousands of graduate alumni who went into careers in academia, industry, and other worthwhile professions. Aside from the top-notch academics and research, Dr. Shimamoto also presented that NAIST has a sizeable international community that is well taken care of. Thus, the prospective students and applicants were very excited to know more about NAIST, and afterward, they were given useful information on the admissions process.

Each division then gave a brief overview of their research and laboratories. Prof. Taku Demura gave a presentation about the Division of Biological Science which features research areas in Plant Biology, Medical Biology, and Systems Biology. Prof. Demura highlighted that NAIST’s biological research tackles multiple levels of life from single molecules to whole organisms, and from basic to applied research. Next, Prof. Yoichiro Hosokawa gave a talk about the research of his division: Materials Science, which studies the structure, properties, and functions of materials — ranging from the subatomic scale to entire molecules and whole devices. Researchers interested in the fields of physics, chemistry, biomaterials, device engineering, and materials informatics will find a good program here with a focus on interdisciplinary photonic nanoscience. Finally, Prof. Keiichi Yasumoto presented the Division of Information Science, which was the first established graduate school in NAIST. The division offers a wide range of courses and projects covering Computer Science, Media Informatics, and Applied Informatics to any of those interested. With an internationally oriented program and the latest research facilities, NAIST truly offers a very good place to pursue graduate studies.

Finally, the most fun part of all was when the participants were able to go into different breakout rooms based on the three divisions and other extra topics. They were able to meet first-hand the faculty, staff, and students of NAIST for Q&A. Here, many of the interested students were curious about further details regarding both academic and non-academic life. Evidently, prospective students looked for a strong balance between research work and extracurricular activities such as campus life and international events. Thus, the organizers exhibited facilities such as the NAIST University Union, student dormitories, sports facilities, and leisure spaces. Overall, the event was a great way for NAIST to attract new international students and gave the opportunity for people abroad to see what life in NAIST is like despite the pandemic. This virtual event was a nice way to connect with those from far away, and hopefully, we get to see them in person once they become part of the institute we all know and love— NAIST.

Outgrow Your limits: Marge

This is “Outgrow Your Limits”, a three-part series of short interviews with the recent Fall 2021 graduates. We asked one graduate per division about their time at NAIST, and their plans for the future. This post features Margaret Anne (Marge) Pelayo, Ph.D, from the Philippines.

After the graduation ceremony last September 24, 2021, I got a chance to talk with her about her NAIST experience and perspectives.

From which division and laboratory are you from?

I’m from the Division of Biological Sciences and I belong in the Plant Stem Cell Regulation and Floral Patterning lab headed by Prof. Toshiro Ito.

When did you first set foot on the NAIST campus?

The very first time I came to NAIST was for the pre-screening internship in bio in January 2018. I (along with the other interns) stayed in NAIST for about a week during that time. Then in October 2018, I became a D1 student in NAIST.

What attracted you to enroll in NAIST?

I had already submitted several applications for PhD positions in late 2017 and NAIST was the first one to give me an offer. I decided to accept it because of the good experience during the pre-screening internship wherein I was able to go to several labs and learn first-hand what each lab is working on. It was also great to meet current students and to be able to ask them about their experiences. Also, it was always my dream to study and get to live in Japan so it was the perfect opportunity for me.

Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you during your stay at this university?

I stayed as a PhD student in NAIST for 3 years and there are so many moments that will always be with me and will forever be part of who I am. So it’s difficult to think of a specific moment or memory that especially stands out for me. But maybe one event that stands out (probably not just for me) that happened during my stay in NAIST and that I just have to mention is the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been quite surreal. In NAIST, in many ways, life goes on and almost feels normal but also it’s undeniable that the entire world and our way of life have changed because of the pandemic. But overall, the entire experience of studying at NAIST and living in Japan has been very special and is something that I am incredibly grateful for.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your studies and stay here?

The biggest challenge for me is definitely the final year of my studies because aside from trying to complete the requirements for the degree, I also faced personal challenges as my family lost our Dad very suddenly to COVID this year. I was unable to go home to the Philippines because of the high number of cases there during that time (it was in March this year) and also the uncertainty of being able to go back to Japan if I did go home.

How did you overcome this challenge?

I was very lucky that I had a very supportive lab and community in NAIST. I leaned on my family and friends back home and on friends and colleagues here in NAIST. Everyone was very understanding of the situation I was going through and this helped me to keep going.

Me during a Halloween party with the small Filipino community of NAIST!

What were the factors that encouraged you to complete your degree?

I had less than a year remaining until completion and although there was an option for me to delay graduation, in the end, the best option was really to just finish and get the PhD already. This would lead to more opportunities in terms of the next steps in my career and also takes a lot of pressure off on the question of whether I will complete the degree or not.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen and current students with regards to pursuing graduate studies in NAIST?

Treasure every moment and learn as much as you can not only about science but also about yourself (dreams, purpose, etc.). Work hard but also don’t forget to enjoy the experience. There will be many moments of ups and downs but as long as you keep on going, you will find your way. Also, for international students, learn the Japanese language. No need to master it but having a grasp of the basics will certainly ease the transition of living in Japan.

Has the university helped you prepare for the next step in your life after graduation? In what way/s?

Definitely! My stay in NAIST gave me the opportunity to explore various avenues about my research and this opened up many possibilities of what I can pursue in the future.

What’s your next adventure in life?

I plan to stay with my current lab in NAIST for a few more months (probably until Feb or March 2022) as a postdoc fellow then I will go home in the Philippines for a while to spend time with family. I accepted an offer for a postdoc position in Prof. Doris Wagner’s lab in UPenn for September next year so hopefully, after spending some time home, I will be able to continue research in the US.

Outgrow Your Limits: Ter

Panyawut or most commonly known as Ter is probably one of my first international friends in NAIST as a graduate student. Ter’s graduate school’s journey is one that exemplifies NAIST motto of “Outgrow Your Limits”, as he has been able to take advantage of the opportunities in NAIST to further his research as well as his career.

After the graduation ceremony last September 24, 2021, I got a chance to talk with him about his NAIST experience and perspectives. This is “Outgrow Your Limits”, a three-part series of short interviews with the recent Fall 2021 graduates. We asked one graduate per division about their time at NAIST, and their plans for the future.

From which division and laboratory are you from?

Hello! I’m from Information Science (IS) under the Mathematical Informatics Laboratory.

When did you first set foot on the NAIST campus?

For my master degree, I came to NAIST on 27 September 2019. Previously, I did an internship from 28 May 2018 – 12 August 2018. (Same lab)

What attracted you to enroll in NAIST?

One of the things that I liked about NAIST, as an institute that has only graduate students, professors have much more time to spend with their own students’ research compared to other universities. With these advantages, I can fully focus on my projects and spend the time to develop myself. Furthermore, NAIST is an international university that has students from around the world. I have had a lot of opportunities to discuss and learn with each other about research, and their culture. NAIST provides a nice research and working environment, full computational resources, financial support, as well as support from well-known professors

Since my research is under information science, one of the important factors to achieve good results is computational resources and infrastructure. My laboratory empowers us, students, by giving us high-performance computational resources. For the financial support, it came from not only the budgets from the lab or professors but also the grants from the university that you can submit the proposal for your own project.

Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you during your stay at this university?

The best moment during my stay here is when I know that my own project got the financial grant from the NAIST Creative and International Competitiveness Project (CICP). Honestly, this is the first time that I set the goal of a project by myself. Generally, I did the projects that I received from my professors. This is a big step in my life given that I will conduct, design, and implement my own project with my collaborators. In the end, My team achieved our team goal and the paper of this project was accepted by The 13th International Conference on Mobile Computing and Ubiquitous Networking.

Me during the CICP 2021 event where I presented my research project on tracking table tennis stroke using Deep Learning

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your studies and stay here?

During my stay at NAIST, I think there are two main challenges that I faced. The first is “communication”. There is a bit of a language and some of the students are not well versed in English. This issue can be a cause of misunderstanding when collaborating with others or presenting publicly. The second is “mental health”. As graduate students, we need to deal with the pressures from our research. I think these two issues are the big challenges that I encountered.

How did you overcome this challenge?

For the first issue which is “communication”, my friends always try to learn and communicate with international students. Furthermore, most of our activities in our laboratory are conducted in English and that this has immensely helped in improving my language skills as well! I also reduced the language gap with my Japanese labmates and professors by learning the Japanese language.

What were the factors that encouraged you to complete your degree?

The key factors that encouraged me are “my ambition” and “support from others”. With ambition, I can challenge myself and go higher day by day. With the support from others, I can make sure that even if I fail, I still can try it again with their help. These two factors encourage me to complete the degree.

Travelling and hanging out with friends is a good way to boost your spirits!

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen and current students with regards to pursuing graduate studies in NAIST?

My advice is to “chase your dream” and “don’t give up” even if there are lots of obstacles. Keep walking if you cannot run. Keep moving forward. Even with small steps, you are going to be closer to your goal. In the end, you will succeed and achieve the thing you want some day!

Has the university helped you prepare for the next step in your life after graduation? In what way/s?

Yes. NAIST provides and organizes career opportunities such as an international job fair and career guidance. This job fair gave me information about recruiting company, the interview process, as well as the preparation. I believe that the combination of this factors has given me and edge during my job hunting process.

What’s your next adventure in life?

Since I got the offer from TikTok company in Singapore, my next adventure is how to adapt to the working and living environment in Singapore. I have lived in two countries, Thailand and Japan. The next challenge in my life is to apply the knowledge and experiences from them to my next place.

I hope that this article will be useful in some way for the one who aims to study in NAIST or in Japan. Feel free to contact me if you want more detail or discuss with me. =w=b


Are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree and eventually telling your own NAIST story? If you are, then head over here for more details!

Outgrow Your Limits 2021: Dianne

This is “Outgrow Your Limits”, a three-part series of short interviews with the recent Fall 2021 graduates. We asked one graduate per division about their time at NAIST, and their plans for the future. This post features Dianne Corsino, Ph.D, from the Philippines.

After the graduation ceremony last September 24, 2021, I got a chance to talk with her about her NAIST experience and perspectives.

From which division and laboratory are you from?

Information Device Science Laboratory (Prof. Yukiharu Uraoka), Graduate School of Materials Science

When did you first set foot on the NAIST campus?

June 2015 for a two-month internship. September 2016 for master’s course

What attracted you to enroll in NAIST?

One of the reasons why I enrolled in NAIST is that it covers advanced research areas in my field which I thought will allow me to maximize my potential as a researcher. I thought that I could advance my knowledge and skills using the many available equipment and facilities. And of course, Japan is an interesting country for me given its rich culture attracting tourists from all over the world. So, living in Japan would be an exciting experience for me!

Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you during your stay at this university?

If there is one particular moment that stands out during my stay at the university, it would be the graduation day. That was when my 5-year journey in NAIST finally came to an end and it was a fulfilling day for me to be able to see the product of the struggle I chose and enjoyed doing, and just to be where I wanted to be.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your studies and stay here?

My biggest challenges during my stay in NAIST were two opposite extremes (1) the full season – having too much on the plate and (2) the empty season – failed experiments and being stuck.

How did you overcome this challenge?

First is to recognize the season and the struggle. Second is to pause/rest and reflect. And third is to keep going. I think the sooner I recognize the need to overcome the challenge, the sooner I also get back on track.

What were the factors that encouraged you to complete your degree?

“I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” The main reason why I never backed out is that I was holding on to my purpose why I started the journey in the first place. I stayed focused on my goal to complete the degree for my family, for personal development, and for all the lessons that come with the journey. I also find my supervisors and colleagues encouraging and supportive!

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen and current students with regards to pursuing graduate studies in NAIST?

I think it is a privilege to pursue graduate studies at NAIST. For me, NAIST is conducive to doing research in our respective fields. The advice I want to give to the current and incoming students is to always recommit themselves to their purpose. Attending a graduate school is definitely not an easy journey, even for very passionate people, so it is important to embrace the struggle that comes with it. An effective way to get through graduate school is to establish a good support system, may it be our friends in or outside the campus, family, or even just ourselves.

Has the university helped you prepare for the next step in your life after graduation? In what way/s?

Definitely! The training I had as a master’s and doctoral student in NAIST will be useful for pursuing postdoctoral research. Since I will be working on a related research project, I expect to contribute what I learned from my experiments, and data interpretation and analysis. I also find my manuscript/paper writing and grant application seasons useful to stay in the academe.

What’s your next adventure in life?

Career-wise, I will be staying in the academe to work as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Italy. While working in the academic research field, I am also excited to discover what is in this part of the world – life, culture, customs, food, people etc.