Natsumi Miyauchi is an ICU student spending her junior year abroad at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also one of five students to receive the JICUF’s Study Abroad Scholarship for academic year 2015-16. This is the second year this scholarship has been awarded.
This interview is part two in a five part series highlighting the Study Abroad Scholarship recipients. The scholarship is intended to support ICU students studying abroad in North America and was awarded to five students who are spending one year at Georgetown University, Middlebury College, Ohio State University, University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Los Angeles, respectively.
JICUF: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview and congratulations on receiving the Study Abroad Scholarship! Let’s start our interview by you telling me a little bit about why you decided to attend ICU.
Natsumi: I attended an international school in Tokyo for high school so my options for universities in Japan were limited. Among those universities, I found ICU to be the most liberal and open minded. In addition, I also liked the fact that September students and April students at ICU studied together in the same division.
JICUF: Those are great reasons to choose ICU. How did you decide to study abroad and why did you choose UC Berkeley?
Natsumi: I decided to study abroad at the end of my freshman year after reading about ICU’s study abroad program. In order to decide the school, I looked up all the schools which were study abroad partners with ICU to see which school had the strongest physics program. This led to my decision to apply to UC Berkeley.
At ICU, I study both physics and mathematics. I plan to graduate in June 2017. I do not participate in any student clubs since my coursework dominates a large part of my time and I spend two hours to commute to ICU every day. More than anything else though, my main focus are my academics, which consume most of my time.
JICUF: It is always good to meet students who puts their studies first. Do you have any expectations of what your year at UC Berkeley will be like?
Natsumi: My main goal for my year abroad is to study physics. Certain physics courses I want to take at Berkeley are not currently offered at ICU. I also hope to participate in undergraduate research. I applied for a research position at the Space Sciences Laboratory for developing software on processing data from a neutron detector. I am still waiting to hear from them, but I hope to participate in this project.
On a different note, because I went to an international school, many of my close friends also study in the North America. I plan to travel to St. Louis and Montreal during my breaks to visit them!
I would also like to meet ICU alumni in North America to learn about their experiences after graduating from ICU. I’m particularly interested to know how they came to work and live in North America.
JICUF: Great! I am sure that your interview will inspire many ICU alumni to reach out and connect with you. Please tell me about your plans for the future and if you have thought about what you would like to do when you graduate.
Natsumi: Although my plans are not concrete, after I graduate ICU I hope to continue my studies in physics at the graduate level at a school in Europe or North America.
JICUF: Are you nervous about your year abroad?
Natsumi: I expect Berkeley to be more challenging than ICU. However, I do not have any particular worries as of now. I am confident I will be able to keep up.
JICUF: Wonderful! I wish you the best of luck. One more question, please tell us how you heard about the Japan ICU Foundation.
Natsumi: Actually, in my freshman year I received a different JICUF scholarship for international students, so I was aware of the organization prior to receiving this scholarship. My understanding is that JICUF is an organization started in New York to initially help fund the school during its inception.
JICUF: That is true though we have expanded our scope of work since then and enjoy supporting projects and programs at ICU as well as running a summer program in NYC.
Do you have anything else you would like to say to the ICU alumni and friends that will be reading this?
Natsumi: I’d like to thank everyone involved in funding the scholarship. I will make sure my year abroad will be fruitful and productive.
JICUF: Thank you, Natsumi. We have no doubt that you will make the most of your experience.