For Taiwanese student TSAI You-shan, an AFLSP Scholar from Kyoto University, one of her biggest takeaways from her study abroad experience is a deeper appreciation for the many cultures in Asia. “The AFLSP provided me with opportunities to interact with like-minded scholars from many Asian countries. I believe that together, we can develop innovative and impactful ideas that will benefit Asia as a whole,” she says.
Currently researching interactions between plants and microbes, You-shan hopes to develop organic hydroponics (a soilless method of growing plants using nutrient solutions) by screening useful microbes from soil to promote plant growth. “I believe this system of farming will reduce the consumption of chemical fertilizers and make the agricultural industry more sustainable,” she says.
After graduation, You-shan, who is fluent in Chinese, English, and Japanese, plans to work in trans-regional agriculture in Japan to help boost green technology in Asia and beyond.
by Ellen Zhuang
Hiroshi Kanno is a professor at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Business and Finance. He shares about how his love for helping others succeed led him to a successful career in consulting, followed by a shift into academia, where he continues to inspire and be inspired today.
It was at BXAI Summer Program 2017 where Jeong Shin Young, an AFLSP Scholar pursuing a postgraduate degree in mechanical engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), discovered that his interest in technological innovation and passion for social responsibility could be married to create something meaningful. After meeting with social entrepreneurs at the Summer Program, Shin Young learned that social enterprises could make a profit while achieving specific social objectives. “We need industrial support for innovation-oriented research, and I aim to bridge the academic and tech fields to create new technologies and tackle real-world problems,” he says.
As an undergraduate, Shin Young created an electronic medical kit used to detect certain diseases through human breath. With guidance from his professors, he successfully developed this energy-saving device at a low production cost and was able to introduce it in Cambodian slums. “This experience made me believe that with my knowledge and skills, I can help people and contribute to a better society,” says Shin Young.
Following his graduation, Shin Young plans to become a research assistant. “My goal is to establish my own company to support industrial development through technological innovation.”
Chan Kuei-yuan is a professor and associate chair of mechanical engineering at Taiwan University (NTU). He shares about how a childhood obsession with cars evolved into an education in mechanical engineering and stints at various top car manufacturers, ultimately leading him to his current role at NTU where he works with autonomous cars.
This month, a group of scholars and buddies from Waseda University took a three-day trip to Nagasaki Prefecture under the guidance of professors and staff from the university’s School of Political Science and Economics.
The trip kicked off with a visit to Dejima, where students learned about the local culture and history of the area that was once an artificial island. Tours of the Atomic Bomb Museum and National Peace Memorial Hall gave students an opportunity to interact with survivors and deepen their knowledge and understanding of the history of nuclear weapons. “The heavy casualties and destruction depicted by the historical pictures reminded me of the precious value of peace and the importance of moving forward together,” comments WU Yutong, an AFLSP Scholar from 2016 cohort.
After a specially granted visit to the US Fleet Activities Sasebo, a United States naval base, students learned more about issues surrounding nuclear weapons abolition from a special lecture given by Professor Hirose Satoshi and members of the Nagasaki Youth Delegation from Nagasaki University.
A big thank you to all professors and staff for arranging such a meaningful and educational tour!
When it came time to select a university, half-Chinese half-Japanese AFLSP Scholar Ami HIGUCHI followed in her father and sister’s footsteps and decided to leave Canada where she spent her adolescence to study at Peking University. Ami, who grew up in a multicultural environment, explains that what motivated her to move halfway across the world was China’s robust economic development and the lively spirit of its citizens.
Currently studying international relations, Ami is also actively involved in organizing activities for Chinese and Japanese students. She initiated “Project Abroad” last year, a conference focusing on social entrepreneurship and higher education for Chinese students to participate in in-depth discussions with Japanese leading entrepreneurs, practitioners, and students. “The project was very successful and it was encouraging to see participants engage in open dialogues with one another to explore their future possibilities,” says Ami.
An advocate of intercultural exchange and education, Ami credits her international outlook to the BXAI Summer Program. “I find we all belong to multiple cultures and Bai Xian offers a valuable platform for cross-cultural learning,” she says. After attending the Summer Program, Ami was inspired to set up Là China, a Japanese media platform that provides information on China’s development from millennial perspectives.
Sawyer Xie is the executive director of Coffee Applications Incorporated, a professional networking app; and founder of Vernacular Limited, a company that creates sustainable urban spaces through green walls and roofs. He shares about how his interest in pursuing a future-focused study topic led him on a multidirectional career path driven by a passion to create a sustainable world.
As he reflects on his AFLSP experience, Wu Siyu recalls gaining a more optimistic perspective of the future through his interactions with fellow scholars, many of whom were “enthusiastic about changing the future of Asia and the world”. It was during the 2016 BXAI Summer Program when the graduate of The University of Tokyo further explored his own strengths and passions and seriously considered his future. After meeting many leaders in the financial field, Siyu realized that his interests and skills would be better applied to a career in finance rather than his initial plan of working in the renewable energy industry. “My goal is to help companies to best compete and grow in a changing world,” says Siyu, who currently works as an analyst at ICBC International Holdings Limited in Hong Kong.
Encouraged by the lively and valuable exchanges he had with other scholars during his time in the AFLSP, Siyu hopes that the young people of his generation will continue to “engage in constructive conversations to build a brighter future” in Asia and beyond.
Chang Sheng-lin is a tea farmer, a professor at Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, and a Director of Social Design at Taiwan University’s D-School. She shares about how her research on identity led her to become a tea farmer as a way to revitalize a community and promote social activism.
Having recently graduated from Kyoto University with a master’s degree in engineering, BX Alumnus Ding Hao, who hails from Mainland China, is now preparing himself for his new role as IT consultant at Simplex Inc., a Tokyo-based firm that provides consulting services to financial institutions through the use of sophisticated technologies.
The multilingual Hao, who speaks Chinese, Japanese, and English, looks forward to starting his career in an international environment that will equip him with business skills and prepare him for the future. “One of the things I value about the firm is its mix of employees from different backgrounds, which is an important component for success, as I’ve learned through the AFLSP,” says Hao.
Japan’s historic success in transforming advanced technology into affordable consumer products has also been an inspiration for Hao. “Japan’s market is relatively small, while China has the market but lacks the technology. One day, I hope to bridge the high-tech markets of Japan and China. Both cultures hold similar values and I think this is a good entry point to build mutual trust. Bilateral collaboration would boost technological innovation, increase market share, and improve stability and development in the region.”