Make The Connection

A Year in Japan

December 5, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Robert Wu ’20 (right front with ponytail) participates in fall matsuri (fall festival) while spending a year studying at Waseda University in Tokyo. He earned a Freeman-ASIA Award to support his experience. (Photo courtesy of Robert Wu)

Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Freeman-ASIA Award to Support Year at Waseda University

Name: Robert Wu ’20
Major: Business Administration with a management concentration
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Experience: Wu earned a $7,000 Freeman Award for Study in Asia to support studying abroad for a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. The competitive grant was awarded by the Hawaii-based Freeman Foundation, which seeks to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between the United States and countries of East Asia. 

His year also is made possible through Japan Study, an Earlham College-based program that links member colleges of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (including Ohio Wesleyan) and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest with Waseda. The Japan Study experience includes “cultural” internship, retreats and homestay.

What will your year entail?

“Besides coursework at Waseda University, I will be doing a homestay with a Japanese family in Tokyo. The homestay is a valuable resource that will help me to improve my Japanese language skills and make quality connections. It will also help with my ability to adapt in Japan and enjoy my study abroad experience to the fullest.

“I will also complete a cultural internship while in Japan. I was placed to intern at a Buddhist Monastery for a month during my winter break (in February). This internship will allow me to immerse into the cultural and religious part of Japan. I will be working alongside the other monks, waking up 3:30 a.m., (completing) long silent meditations, and eating only vegetarian meals.”

What has been one of your favorite moments so far?

“My favorite moment so far in Japan was bathing in the night lights, loud noises, various intriguing vibes on the streets of Shibuya.”

Robert Wu ’20 (front row, sixth from left) participates in a fall retreat at Waseda University. The OWU business administration major is spending a year studying in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Robert Wu)

Why did you choose this study abroad opportunity?

“I wanted to spend a year in Japan because I felt that it was the perfect time to go abroad and learn and do various things that can be done only in Japan.

“While studying abroad, I will learn a new culture, create new memories and experiences, and enhance my Japanese fluency.

“Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to go to Japan, especially Tokyo, and this program and school are located in the heart of Japan.”

Why did you choose Ohio Wesleyan?

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan University as my undergraduate because OWU has the business major that I wanted. … Small liberal arts college, scholarships, change of scenery from the big city of Los Angeles, traveling opportunity, career services, and opportunity to be on the other side of the country were the reasons why Ohio Wesleyan University was the chosen school.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“My plans after graduation are still up in the air, but I think there are two paths that I will take: continue my education in graduate school or jump right into the workforce and start working up the job ladder in a firm. The firm can either be in Japan or in the United States.”