Voices from Graduate Students

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Introductory Video of GSGES

International students talk about their study in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES).

Yuki Konomi

Graduated in March 2022
Current Affiliation: Ikimono Club KONOMI (self-employed)

I learned about the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) during my third year at Kyoto University, when I began worrying about my career path after graduation. As I always loved living creatures and had a vague idea of wanting to protect them, I thought a course on learning about biodiversity and conservation would surely have a positive effect on me after graduation. I also thought it would expand my options to take up internships abroad, which was another factor in my decision to attend GSGES.

In the spring of 2020, however, just when my graduate studies were about to begin, everything in the world halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. In my first online class, it was difficult to understand the professor because the entire lecture was held in English, and I found group discussions to be even more difficult. Most of my field trips were cancelled, and so was my internship abroad, although I was able to work on a one-month short-term internship at the University of the Ryukyus, which was a great experience.

Thus, these two years have been very different from what I had imagined, but nevertheless, what I learned and the networks I made at GSGES are priceless.

I am currently working in the field of environmental education, mainly focusing on living organisms. I develop programs for the general public, mainly for young people, which involve experiencing nature together and having fun learning about living organisms. The program incorporates much of what I learned in classes and from the teachers in GSGES, while reflecting cooperative help of my colleagues at my research lab. The GSGES has many international students with a diverse group of students and professors. As I now work independently, the networks I have made with teachers and colleagues active in a variety of fields are a treasure nothing can replace.

I believe that valuing human networks established through GSGES, on top of learning in the classroom, will surely enrich your life.

Miki Oda

Graduated in March 2019
Current Affiliation: Sony Group Corporation

After graduating from the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) in March 2019, my classmates and I experienced the coronavirus pandemic from the end of the first year on the job. As we face major changes in our working environment, I have recently heard that some of our classmates will be participating in the COP or are involved in municipal decarbonization projects after gaining experiences.

I enrolled in the GSGES because I wanted to find a job related to solving environmental issues and expand my knowledge and social networks in the process of the job hunting. At school, I had opportunities to learn and meet people beyond my expectations. As I had never lived or studied abroad, I was a little nervous about the lectures held in English and group working with international students. After managing to get by during the first stage, however, I was able to learn global issues of environment, poverty, and gender, and discussed social issues from the perspective of countries and regions outside Japan, thereby having broadened my perspective. I also found the exchange of views very significant in the lounge space where students gather at any time of day.

After graduation, I got a job in corporate sales at a solar power equipment installation company. I am currently working for a company that provides electrical appliances, movies, music, financial services, and other services to customers worldwide. I am in charge of communicating with external parties such as investors about environmental initiatives of the company. For example, disclosure of information on the results of greenhouse gas emissions calculations, future plans to introduce renewable energy, and disaster and drought countermeasures falls into my coverage. As each business has its own climate change countermeasures and there is a variety of stakeholders involved inside and outside Japan, my work requires a broad perspective. Every day I notice that all I learned at the GSGES is connected to my work. Many thanks to all faculty members, interns, and students, who have helped me over the two years.

Dinita Setyawati

Graduated from Doctoral Program in Global Environmental Studies (2022)
Senior Electricity Policy Analyst, Southeast Asia, Ember Climate

When I graduated from the doctoral program at GSGES, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Through this program, I acquired the knowledge and perspective to look at things from various aspects. The GSGES professors taught me that one needs to consider the interdisciplinary nature of climate change to understand the holistic approach to addressing its challenges. At GSGES, I learned to examine the interactions of climate change with global trends, such as use of natural resources, urbanization, geopolitics and the growing concerns about the safety of our climate expressed by a majority of people across the globe. This program fostered my ability to work at the international level by using innovative global and local approaches to address environmental issues.

My doctoral program was generously funded by the MEXT. I was also able to secure a grant from the Toyota Foundation, which trusted me to manage the projects based on strong recommendations from my supervisor. These opportunities have given me the experience to immerse myself in my research on energy justice, and empower street vendor communities in Indonesia through education for sustainability. Professors and colleagues in my lab have also provided immense support to improve my research and analysis, motivating me to publish my first book in energy studies.

Throughout my three yearsʼ experience at GSGES, I gained an abundance of great memories and long-lasting friendships. There were valuable exchanges from joint seminars organized by labs in social sciences, bringing together those who work in science, social sciences and humanities concerning environmental studies. After graduation, I have benefitted from access to the GSGES alumni network where I could recharge my knowledge through discussions with prominent scholars and policymakers. Being a GSGES alumna has certainly equipped me with the skills and knowledge to embark on my journey as an energy social scientist.