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"You surely can find out what your passion is and what you like to study here."

Rio Jordanto Sugeng
Home country: Indonesia
The Global Information and Communication Technology and Governance Academic (GIGA) Program

Rio Jordanto Sugeng has successfully overcome the challenges of leaving his home country Indonesia and settling into student life in Japan, throwing himself into his studies on the Global Information and Communication Technology and Governance Academic (GIGA) Program. Pursuing diverse academic interests in fields such as Information Technology, business, management, and economics, Rio makes the most of student life at SFC, taking part in research meetings with faculty members and fellow students and enjoying the campus environment and facilities.

How did you find out about the GIGA program and what attracted you to the program?

I found out about Keio University and the GIGA program from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) when I was in my third year of high school. I started to learn about the latest programs at Japanese universities which offer courses in English. As Japan was the country I had been dreaming of studying in, I was so glad to find out about this program. It was like a dream come true. Furthermore I had a great interest in studying Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and so I was glad to find this particular course offered by Keio University, one of the top leading private universities in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Keio offers Japanese language classes and I think that by taking these classes each semester I will be able to speak Japanese fluently by the time I graduate from Keio. The freedom Keio gives GIGA students is also one of the strong points of this program, because I can learn management and business while I am in the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies.

I come from a developing country, Indonesia. Even though I cannot speak Japanese fluently, I wanted to challenge myself by studying abroad in a whole new environment. My parents always encouraged me to study abroad to have a much wider vision and to help me to become a dependable and mature person.

What area of the program particularly interests you? What is your favorite course or seminar, and why?

The GIGA program offers a diverse range of classes. We can make use of that advantage and try different kinds of classes and then find the courses we really have interest in. The areas of the program that I am interested in are the IT courses because we are in the 21st century and the IT field seems to have a promising future. Moreover, Japan has some of the leading IT industries in the world.

Recently in my second semester I joined Professor Jiro Kokuryo's research seminar, known as kenkyūkai. There I can learn about management and economics, meet friends who share the same interests, and learn a lot from the professor directly.

Personally I think joining a kenkyūkai is the most interesting and important opportunity for us at SFC. We can learn interesting things that we like in a comfortable, small group of experienced people, such as alumni and faculty members.

What are some of your favorite things about SFC?

I love SFC for its campus environment, because I think by learning in a comfortable campus environment, we can enjoy the learning process. SFC has a beautiful duck pond and I often go there and lie down on the grass. The library has a diverse collection of English and Japanese books.

The campus environment is also determined by the students and professors. I really like the relationship that professors and students have here. The professors treat us like we are their research partners and involve us in their research a lot.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Because I commute every day from my apartment to school by bike, after some time I have begun to like cycling itself and have made it my hobby right now. Usually on Saturday I go cycling alone or with friends and explore the neighborhood. The fresh air and clean environment is what I enjoy when I am cycling.

I am currently in an English conversation "circle" (student group) called KOSMIC where I can improve my Japanese and English by taking part in their activities.

Please tell us about a challenge that you have faced since coming to Keio and how you overcame it.

The first month after I came to Japan was the hardest time, since I was not able to speak Japanese fluently at that time, and not many people around me communicated in English. This language barrier made it so hard for me to communicate in order to start a new life in a new environment.

The challenge I faced since coming to Keio was the lack of information available about completing the initial requirements such as opening a bank account, obtaining a residence card, and finalizing an apartment contract, etc. But now, I guess, I have overcome all those matters because I decided to do my best to get things done by myself. It took me a whole month to get used to living alone, away from my beloved family, and to doing all necessary things by myself.

The reward was that I achieved a satisfying grade in my first semester. I never expected this because many of my relatives and friends said that the first year of university is the hardest as normally students are not yet used to anything in their new environment.

Despite these expectations, I was able to do my best and ended up getting straight As in all twelve of my subjects.

Think back on yourself before coming to Keio. How do you think you have changed as a result of coming to Keio?

Before I came to Keio I was a spoiled little kid who didn't know how to make his own meal. Keio University treats new students as capable individuals who can resolve any task given. Being thrown into a new environment with no one to help me, I finally realize that I must help myself. Without relying on somebody else I learned how spoiled I was and started to fix my personality and the way I live. I have become more independent and disciplined since I came to Keio and I am very thankful for the experience Keio has given me.

What would you like to do after you graduate? What do you think you will take with you from the program and your experiences in Japan and at Keio?

Right now I am planning to continue my studies and become a graduate student in Japan too. My studies mainly focus on research on the economies of South East Asia, as I am very interested in learning business and management. I hope to become an entrepreneur someday and build my own company from scratch.

I am also planning to get a job in a Japanese company which has a branch in Indonesia so that after getting enough working experience in Japan I can go back and stay in my beloved country Indonesia. I really want to get a job that can connect the two countries and improve their mutual relationship as I have the experience and skill that Keio and Japan gave me.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying the GIGA program?

For those of you who are still confused about what you want to study in the future, I really recommend taking the GIGA program as you can take a wide variation of classes that are offered at SFC. The professors and other faculty members are also very kind and supportive of the students and their research-based curriculum really helps us to be able to participate in research and gain experience directly from them. You surely can find out what your passion is and what you like to study here.

(This interview is from March 2013.)

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