Bong Kah Shen
Faculty of Engineering, Department of Architecture
Period of study abroad
2017 - 2021
What did you do before studying in Japan?
High school student
Why did you chose to study in Japan?
I am interested in the traditional Japanese gardens, which fully express the beauty of nature and the scenery with a sense of unity. The Sukiya-zukuri, a traditional architectural style in Japan, free in design, such as the architecture of the Japanese teahouses facing the garden is particularly refined, beautiful, attractive, and atmospheric. In a Japanese garden, the spatial composition of the garden allows us to get closer to the nature and calm our mind to get rid of distractions. I was also fascinated by the unique Japanese aesthetic senses of "Wabi-Sabi", introduced in the delicate yet simple architectural expression of "Japanese" space. Another reason for this is the high level of Japanese architectural skills and technology, as Japanese architects have being awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize seven times, ranking second in the world after the United States in the number of awardees. Besides that, Japanese construction companies are expanding their market into Southeast Asia. Studying and working in Japan will give me an advantage in terms of language and experience, helping me to advance my career in the future.
How did you prepare for studying in Japan?
After I graduated from high school, I attended a Japanese language course in a short term of one month before I flight to Japan. The lecturer of the course was willing to help me in most of my preparation for studying in Japan, including finding a place to live, registration of a Japanese language school before I’m able to further my study in university, and also my VISA. I started my researching and collecting of information about universities and professors in Japan, and prepare for the Examination Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) while I was attending the Japanese language school. Teachers of the Japanese language school helped me a lot in gathering information and also interview practices for my entrance of university, and a good result in EJU and university allows me to get the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) scholarship for two years. In the third year in university, I applied and successfully got a scholarship for international students by Taisei Corporation. The scholarship information was provided by the International Support Desk (ISD), which functions as a primary contact for international students and researchers who seek help for adapting to life in Japan and also in the university.
How is your student life in Japan?
I had achieved N1, the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) while I was attending Japanese language school, and currently enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture for the third year, with the aim of achieving harmony and coexistence between architecture and nature. I joined the Environmental ISO Student Committee in the university for two years to deepen my understanding of environmental issues and get involved in environmental initiatives in order to realize symbiosis with nature through architectural design. In order to broaden my horizons, I spend my holidays travelling on a budget, observing, researching, and studying the architecture of different places.
Any message and/or advice to those who wish to study in Japan?
Japan is a great choice to further your study, as universities in Japan provide excellent research and education environment, with its unique culture and background, allowing you to enhance yourself by obtaining new skills and experience, which probably beneficial for our future success. For those who are considering studying in Japan, a new, unfamiliar living and learning environment might be full of anxiety, don’t be afraid and try to take your first step if you have an opportunity to do so. Life is too short, so live it to the fullest. Follow your dreams and win what your happy heart desires.