Sharlyn Mae BuendiaChua

The experience of flying out of my country alone was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Nervous because I am going to a country with no single person I know and excited because of the opportunity this experience will bring me. It was never hard to contact the institute for my inquiries and needs through email. They assisted me from the acceptance email to the time I went back home so “maraming salamat po ("thanks very much" in Tagalog)” to the NIG General Affairs Team!

Coming from a third-world country which is greatly lagging in research and technology, I really appreciate this experience of being able to use high-end instruments, attend seminars of different topics, visit different laboratories and communicate with the best professors in all fields of research. I was successfully able to report my presentation with the help of my ever-jolly sensei, Dr. Miyagishima, and the person who really got my back throughout my stay, Ms. Lin Wei Jong. I am over satisfied with the knowledge and lab techniques they shared to me. They really guided me step-by-step about the research. One favorite thing I learned in my lab is the power of asking. They never pressured me to get everything at once and they were always open for questions and clarifications.

All lab members in my team were all welcoming. My favorite moments are probably when I got to talk to them every lunch. It’s the time where most of us are in one room talking about random things and laughing about almost everything. They also prepared parties for me: sushi welcome party, ramen dinner, Takoyaki party and Farewell/Birthday party. Each were special and remarkable to my heart. Throughout the program, I became friends too with other interns which enabled me to get glimpses of each’s culture. With them, I went to few shrines and castles around Shizuoka and learned more about the culture and history. We also went around Tokyo and experienced the city’s fast-paced life. Then, we went to enjoy Fuji-Q Highland’s extreme rides. Then, climbed Fuji-san and attended Numazu Festival where we celebrated with local people and enjoyed Japan street food while watching fireworks.

Every weekday of my stay was a learning opportunity and every weekend was a chance to embrace Japan. Thank you so much NIG, no word is enough to explain how grateful I am and how much I cherish this experience.