Student Stories

From GSEC students, both finished course and present, about their study abroad experiences around the world.
Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program 2023

Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program 2023

GSEC students Kanon Hasegawa and Kazumasa Kurashima give report to Vice President for Education Jun-ichi Imura

Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program 2023 was successfully held in academic year 2023. This is a joint program between School of Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, School of Environment and Society, Tokyo-Tech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


 Two students from Global Scientists and Engineers Course, Kanon Hasegawa (4th-year, Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology) and Kazumasa Kurashima (4th-year, Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering, School of Environment and Society) studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from September to December 2023.


 This program is the fruit of the school-level agreement that was renewed in February 2017 by MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES) and Tokyo Tech’s Institute of Innovative Research (IIR). After the pilot program that started in AY2019, the student exchange program has been officially implemented since AY2021. Kanon HASEGAWA and Kazumasa KURASHIMA were sent as the fifth cohort of the Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program.


Also, two MIT students, Riley Sage Moeykens (Toru Obara Laboratory, Laboratory for Zero-Carbon Energy, Faculty of Science and Technology) and Carmen Avila (Yoshihisa Matsumoto Laboratory, Zero-Carbon Energy, Faculty of Science and Technology), came to Tokyo-Tech and took classes and conducted researches from October 2023 to February 2024.


 A report session from the students and Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program Committee was held on January 22, 2024 to share their thoughts and experiences with Tokyo Tech Executive Vice President for Education Jun-ichi IMURA.

With Tokyo Tech EVP Imura and Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program Committee members (from the left: Prof. Yukitaka Kato, Prof. Toru Obara, Mr. Kazumasa Kurashima, Ms. Riley Sage Moeykens, Executive Vice President Jun-ichi Imura, Ms. Carmen Avila, Asso. Prof. Takuya Harada)


Kanon Hasegawa

I had group work in the courses I took at MIT, through which I was able to improve my ability to solve problems by collaborating with people from different backgrounds, something I had long wanted to develop. At MIT, there were also opportunities to introduce Japanese culture, allowing me not only to absorb other cultures but also to introduce Japanese culture.


Additionally, the focus of my efforts during my study abroad was research. It was different from the research I conducted at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, but I was able to absorb knowledge and techniques which I didn’t have before. Under the guidance of a Ph.D. student, I conducted research that resulted in a poster presentation. It was a simulation-based study, and I continue this research even after returning to Japan because it can be done remotely.


Participating in Tokyo Tech-MIT Exchange Student Program allowed me to cultivate my spirit of challenge by tackling problems with conscientious students, and I gained experiences which I couldn’t have obtained in Japan.

(Left)It is said that getting an education from MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose.     
(Right)The sculpture which expresses “Thinking man.”


The night view from the balcony of McCormick dorm


Kazumasa Kurashima

I immersed myself in studying and research just next to MIT students, feeling their personalities. Previously, I used to perceive MIT and Harvard students as further from me, but now, I see them more as close friends or real counterparts.


Additionally, it is astonishing that I could establish the MIT Kendo Club, which I never thought of when I was in Japan. It would be great if I could realize interactions between the Tokyo Tech Kendo Team and the MIT Kendo Club in the future. Furthermore, I would like to facilitate exchanges between Tokyo Tech and MIT.


Throughout my stay in Boston, I met many Japanese people who compete on the global stage, which inspires me with confidence to go out into the world. I hope other Tokyo Tech students will discover their new perspectives through this exchange program.

The networking event of the MIT Japanese Association, organized by JAM, JSU, and the MIT Sloan Japan Club. More than 150 people attended. In addition to Japanese students enrolled in undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. programs, MIT students studying Japanese also participated.


(Left)The MIT Kendo Club that I founded. 
(Right)Boston Shufukai Kendo, where I mainly practiced Kendo in Boston. They kindly welcomed me.



Riley Sage Moeykens

Last semester, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study and perform research at Tokyo Institute of Technology. The institution offers a rigorous academic environment similar to that at MIT and provided me the opportunity to take courses in the area of nuclear engineering not available at MIT. 


While at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, I took a few courses ranging from a nuclear reactor design class to a Japanese language conversation class in addition to engaging in research in the area of nuclear physics. The research and coursework I completed at Tokyo Institute of Technology definitely set me up for success and provided me with invaluable skillsets to carry forth into my future education and career.


Furthermore, one of my favorite parts about studying and researching at Tokyo Tech is the culture around research and laboratory work. Collaboration with people in your lab is highly encouraged; as a result, I was able to get to know both my host professor and also the other students in my lab well through various outings and parties to celebrate different events. I learned a lot about Japanese culture and many different perspectives from my colleagues that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Through this experience, I was lucky to expand my network to engineers outside of the US.


Additionally, I improved my Japanese through having conversations at Tokyo Institute of Technology’s ‘Nihongo Space’ and by attending various classes dedicated to Japanese language learning. These opportunities allowed me to build confidence and skills necessary for living in Japan!


Overall, I had a wonderful semester at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and I would recommend it to any student that is interested!

(Left) My supervisor and Tokyo Tech-MIT Student Exchange Program committee members 
(Right) Picture from lab in thermal hydraulics engineering

(Left) With my colleague, Main building at Ookayama campus     (Right) Sightseeing, Beautiful Mt.Fuji

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