Okayama University

First Graduating Class: Discovery Program for Global Learners



April 29, 2022

A total of forty-four students making up the first graduating class of the Discovery Program for Global Learners (aka "GDP"), with some students graduating on September 24, 2021 (October entrants) and others graduating on March 25, 2022 (mainly April entrants), took their first step toward new life goals, whether it be post-graduate education or making headway in a new career path. GDP is a bachelor's degree program that can be completed entirely in English. Its interdisciplinary program eschews traditional faculty and departmental boundaries, and its open curriculum allows students to build a unique study program, with an aim to train up global citizens who play active roles in society.

September 2021 graduate ILLAHI Nanda Rizky from Indonesia, who was awarded the Kokusho Award for her excellent academic performance and outstanding character, chose to study cultural anthropology, politics, and economics in the English-based Discovery Track because of her interest in gender inequality and discrimination. Commenting on the program, Ms. ILLAHI said, "It's not a closed program, so students can explore as many fields as they want" Upon graduating, Ms. ILLAHI returned to Indonesia and started working as an intern at an international organization.

March 2022 graduate INOUE Miyu, who was also awarded the Kokusho Award, stated that thanks to GDP, "I was able to 'discover' myself, my interests, and my future career." Ms. Inoue chose the Japanese-based Matching Track and completed her Senior Project under the supervision of a professor of the Faculty of Economics. During her senior year, Ms. Inoue passed all parts of the United States Certified Public Accountant (USCPA) exam and from April she will start working at a leading accounting firm in Japan.

SEKIGUCHI Kokoro applied to GDP because she wanted to learn about non-profit management. After enrolling, she chose the Discovery Track but also pursued her interest in politics and law by taking classes offered by other faculties. Speaking about her experience at GDP, Ms. Sekiguchi said, "I learned in nonprofit management and politics, especially how the organizations work and how the politics contribute to society". After graduating in September 2021, Ms. Sekiguchi was hired at an airline based in Hawaii, where she spent her middle- and high-school years.

Upon entering university, ISHIDA Masataka was mainly interested in studying anthropology and sociology in English. However, Mr. Ishida pursued the Matching Track to study geochemistry and environmental chemistry and completed his Senior Project at the Department of Earth Science at the Faculty of Science. From April, Mr. Ishida will begin his graduate studies at the Okayama University Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Technology. Mr. Ishida noted that gaining an understanding of chemistry and human life has been relevant to his interest in environmental chemistry, stating "I appreciated the opportunity to study multiple fields because it has helped me to better understand topics that require interdisciplinary knowledge".

Currently, about 240 international students and returnees from 30 countries around the world study together with graduates from Japanese high schools at GDP. In 2022, GDP was chosen by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a "special program for priority placement of government-sponsored foreign students". Commenting on the decision, GDP director UEDA Hitoshi stated, "We hope that students who are interested in going beyond faculty and departmental boundaries in order to match their studies to their interests and future goals, students interested in learning from and cooperating with peers who may have different values and come from a variety of backgrounds, students who are interested in taking an active role solving various global issues, and students who are independent thinkers with a strong desire to learn will join us from both Japan and abroad."

Anyone interested in finding out more about 2023 admissions to GDP should attend the GDP Admissions Information Session to be held (in Japanese) online on June 18 (Saturday) from 14:00 (JST).

Please see here for more information about the entrance examination.


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