David Simonne (Université de Rennes 1, France)
Japan is going to change your point of view about how you envisage your future. Those are the words my professor told me before sending me here to the cosmopolitan University of Tohoku. After one semester in Japan participating to the COLABS programme, I have to say that my efforts payed off and that I had a wonderful experience. Working in a lab here was very different from my experience in France and Germany and I needed some time to adapt to the rhythm. Nevertheless, my tutor was always here for me as well as any member of the lab. if I had any question regarding my experiment - which was a success - or the daily life. Moreover, I really enjoyed how easy it was to learn the Japanese language with other international students. I made a lot of friends among them and we went to different places in Japan together, Aomori, Tokyo or, Zao, for example. My Japanese friends also showed me around Sendai which was a beautiful city with an interesting background history. When I come back to France, not only will I have learned a lot about scientific research, but also about myself.
M. Habib Widyawan (Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Indonesia)
Through the COLABS program, I was able to reach my dream to study in Japan. By participating in COLABS, I was able to do my research thesis under the supervision and guidance of peoples who were very expert in their areas of study. The laboratory in which I belong to was very nice - The Professor was very patient and kind, so were members of the laboratory. Although I can’t speak Japanese at all, they were always there for me when I needed everything. I also feel lucky to live in Sendai - the city was very nice, clean, and safe. The peoples of Sendai were also very nice and helpful to the foreigners. When I arrived at Sendai, it was in the spring season when Sakura started to bloom. I came from Indonesia which there was no spring season there. I could say that spring season is the most beautiful season I ever lived in! In the COLABS program, I was also able to learn about Japanese cultures, which were very rich and interesting. I learned Japanese language, Tanabata decoration, and The Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement (Kado). At the end of COLABS, I felt that one semester was not long enough for COLABS program.
Kristina Ebbert (TU Dortmund University, Germany)
I wanted to go visit Japan since an early age. Also, at one point during the course of my studies, I had to improve my knowledge about synthetic chemistry. The COLABS program was the perfect opportunity for me to combine the desire to learn and to develop my knowledge about chemistry with the wish to explore Japan’s culture and thus fulfill a long-time ambition. As Tohoku University is one of the best universities worldwide, I was very grateful to be able to undertake my studies there. The COLABS program is great for young scientists who want to expand their knowledge and, at the same time, get immersed in a different culture. My professor was amazing and assigned me an interesting project which took into account my existing knowledge and allowed me to improve my skills vastly. At the end of my term, I was able to plan and perform reactions in the laboratory completely on my own, which now helps me a lot with my current thesis. It was impressive seeing how different things worked in Japan. Everyone has an individual project since their bachelor studies, unlike in Germany, where the bachelors help out in projects of their advisors. My advisor and my co-workers were always very helpful and I felt welcomed and comfortable. We had lots of social activities like parties and sports events, which I enjoyed immensely. It helped me get to know the city of Sendai as well as the Japanese cultures. As this was my first experience traveling and studying abroad, I have to mention the great organisation as well. There was never a problem that could not be solved and there was always a person available to support and help. I will always value my memories of Japan and the skills I learned as I am truly thankful for this experience.
Kim Sandvik (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)
The COLABS exchange program has been a great opportunity to get to know Japanese people, culture and language. More also COLABS assigned me to a laboratory. I felt welcomed and became good friends with the lab members. My supervisor let me choose my project and gave valuable advice for research. Most of the things I did were experiences I didn't have earlier. So I learned a lot about my field both in practice and theory. The lab members taught me how to do various experiments and analysis. With the laboratory we also had several parties and went for skiing and other trips. From my experience I learned that the laboratory community is much stronger in Japan than in my country. This was a great opportunity for me to work in the laboratory and learn a lot of my research field and also to learn the Japanese language. It is a nice city to live in. If I ever come back to Japan, Sendai would be high in my priority list compared to some bigger cities. I thank Tohoku University for the COLABS program and Student Exchange Section for their help in all possible matters.
Stephan Wollstadt (Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany)
It was my first time to stay abroad. I thought about doing my research project at Tohoku University since it is among the best universities on this planet. I applied for the COLABS program and started my studies of Japanese language. It is a sign of respect to learn the language of the country you are going to. So, in Sendai, I met several new friends, collected a lot of experiences about the life in Japan and Japanese people and other cultures. My co-workers in my laboratory were all very friendly and I felt very comfortable there. The research work itself was pretty familiar to what I did in Germany. It turned out that my work ended in decent results. Also the weekends were full of leisure. I went on a lot of trips. Sendai, Japan, itself is a very nice city with a million inhabitants, and is one of the greenest among Japanese cities. In summary, I will always keep my stay in Sendai in good memories. I gathered a lot of experience. It was not only a benefit to my scientific knowledge but also in my character. I will try to keep up some habits I learned in Japan.
Lucas Ueberricke (Heidelberg University, Germany)
The COLABS Program was well organized and offered me the unique opportunity to get a deep insight into interesting research topics. At the same time I could learn much about Japan and its fascinating culture. With the help of the language courses and through practice in daily life I was also able to improve my Japanese language ability greatly. I really enjoyed cultural events and excursions offered by the university, which enhanced cultural understanding. Working in a laboratory in Japan was a great way to get an insight into Japanese working culture and to deepen my academic knowledge at the same time. The friendliness and hospitality of all the people I met during my stay in Japan were amazing and made my exchange year an unforgettable experience. I deeply appreciate all the memories and experiences I made during my stay.
Yizhou Yang (Beijing University of Technology, China)
The one year exchange experience in Sendai is unforgettable. Studying here, my research went well under the supervision from my Professor. The research collaboration with doctor students leads to a clear research approach and proper pace of progressing in every step, which all supported me to get good results. As for the Japanese study here, I took the special Japanese class, which was great help for Japanese speaking and basic grammar study. I also won the opportunity to go on a trip to a famous structure design institute, with the great help from the lab, which provided me the chance to get to know working in enterprise in Japan and will benefit my future career. Living in Sendai, a peaceful and beautiful city, brought me many good friends from many countries and also brought me countless happy times with lab mates and friends. The international activities, symposiums and field trips broadened the horizon and provided the opportunities to experience Japan traditional culture and innovative development. After going back to my home university, the good habits of studying and living learned in Japan, the most important treasure I got, will continuously influence me on the way of pursuing my dreams.
Ibai Gorordo Fernandez (GE4 University of the Basque Country, Spain)
GORORDO FERNANDEZ, Ibai (GE4 University of the Basque Country, Spain) Sendai, where Tohoku University is located, is suitable for every kind of student, big enough to feel that you are in a city but still small enough not to be as stressing as big capitals, like Tokyo. If you walk around the downtown area there are plenty of options to enjoy your free time like Karaoke, Izakaya, restaurants and so on; but as soon as you leave that area you can find calm easily. Sendai is also close to the sea, with famous spots like Matsushima less than one hour away, but if you like mountains there are plenty of them near Sendai. You will discover that very well if you study at Aobayama Campus. The COLABS program offered a good opportunity to experience the working style of a Japanese lab. Finally, there are plenty of international students in Tohoku University from all over the world. But since you are coming to Japan you will want to meet Japanese people, and there are different students associations such as TUFSA, @home among others that hold different events where you have the opportunity to meet as many Japanese as you want.
Hsin-Tzu Lee (National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan)
COLABS is a very good program. It is really a great experience to get involved in a Japanese laboratory. I can discuss my experiment with the professor and other lab members, who are willing to talk with me even with my poor Japanese. Also, compared to other programs, we get much information and support. Actually, Tohoku University offers a great deal of Japanese courses, from basic grammar, reading, to Japanese culture, cross-cultural communication, etc. My Japanese progressed a lot in the 10 months. Beside these academic fulfillments, I got much living information offered by the Student Exchange Division. Also, foreigners are welcomed to many Japanese traditional festivals, which were really amazing. I enjoyed life in Sendai very much. Thanks to Tohoku University, especially the Student Exchange Division.