In 2015 I applied for the master's course at the Osaka City University (OCU) Graduate School of Science. I had heard positive stories about OCU from fellow biology students in China who visited OCU on an exchange programme and it has a good reputation for science research (my graduate school even boasts a Nobel Prize laureate).
To apply I had to find an academic supervisor and pass the entrance exam, which included an interview in front of a large examining committee.
At OCU, you become part of a research laboratory and study under the supervision of a professor. I joined Professor Miyata’s microplasma group. His group has a real international atmosphere, with people from all over the world. There are about 15 students in my research group so it was easy to make friends.
Although normally classes at OCU are taught in Japanese, the daily communication in my research group, for example during meetings and seminars, takes place in English, which is a big help. So in fact I am improving both my English and my Japanese.
In the laboratory I am doing research into the gliding machinery of mycoplasma. Mycoplasma are the smallest and simplest cells that exist and can move remarkably fast. To be honest, research feels more like a hobby than work and I usually spend six days a week in the laboratory.
I enjoy microscopy and its ability to observe bacteria in the smallest detail. Our professor demonstrates how enjoyable research is and motivates everybody, making jokes and encouraging us to practise our Japanese. Every day is fun and this close contact with your professor and fellow students in your research group is a great aspect of OCU.
Daily life can be expensive in Japan. I am very fond of Japanese food and have a part-time job at a Japanese restaurant. There I have learnt about Japanese dishes from my colleagues.
I often also cook with friends in the international dormitory where I live. I receive part exemption on my tuition fees as well as a scholarship. Osaka is called "the kitchen of Japan" so the food is great and life in general is quite affordable.
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Studying in Japan gives me a valuable opportunity to experience life in another country with different customs and culture. It is also a good way to become independent.
After I graduated in China I considered starting my working career but I decided to proceed to a master's degree.
Japan is very advanced in my field of study. After you graduate, you can get a temporary visa to search for jobs, so I am thinking of starting my career here in Japan before going back to China.