Tokyo Institute of Technology: Orientation sessions, reception held for newly enrolled master’s, doctoral students

Tokyo Tech’s Student Support Center hosted orientation sessions and a welcome reception for the Institute’s newest master’s and doctoral students on September 22 and 25.

Of the four orientation sessions concerning university life, three took place online while one was held in the event space at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza (Taki Plaza), the new exchange hub on Ookayama Campus. This in-person session was followed by a reception for Tokyo Tech’s newest cohort of international graduate-level students. A total of 317 students participated in the sessions over the two days. Students from 24 countries and regions, many of whom had not yet entered Japan due to the continuing effects of COVID-19, joined the online sessions.

Guidance on academics, career paths, and life in Japan
The Orientation by Student Life Coaches for newly-enrolled graduate-level students was held four times — once in English and once in Japanese on both days. Each 90-minute session covered topics such as the education system at the Institute, things common to all courses, study options, and counseling services. The Japanese sessions were followed by brief career support orientations, which including tips on finding employment. In addition to these components, the English sessions also included 20-minute daily life support components to help new international students acclimatize to life in Japan. The career support and daily life support orientations were new initiatives conducted jointly by the Student Life Coach Consultation Office, Career Support Services, and the International Student Support Desk.

Over half of Tokyo Tech’s master’s and doctoral students join the Institute after completing their bachelor’s degrees at other universities. The Orientation by Student Life Coaches for newly-enrolled graduate-level students aims to make this transition a smooth one, providing information on Tokyo Tech’s unique study and research activities, curricula, study abroad opportunities, financial support, counseling, and employment searches. In the latter half of this fall’s session, teaching assistants (TAs) volunteering as Peer Life Coaches also shared their research and other experiences at Tokyo Tech.

Peer Life Coach sharing advice on first doctoral year
During the daily life support sessions, new students learned about the health insurance system, hospital procedures, garbage disposal methods, and other practical aspects related to life in Japan.

At the career support orientation, Tokyo Tech’s seasoned career advisors offered tips to students about job hunting in the country.

President Kazuya Masu was also available to greet the students online on September 22. After his welcome message, Masu offered answers to participants’ questions regarding his own research career, the strengths and weaknesses of Tokyo Tech, life in Japan, and other interesting topics.President Masu answering online questions from new students
Feedback in the post-event questionnaires was positive:
It was great to receive some advice from a broader perspective. I hope to accumulate credits and conduct research effectively and efficiently.
The pace of the information sharing was just right. The shared experiences from more advanced students were particularly helpful.
It is great to start to know about life at Tokyo Tech and where to get help.
The explanations were very clear. Although there was plenty of new information, the guidance provided the how-tos of finding answers to my further questions. I also realized that the student services and coaches provided are really thoughtful.
Reception for new international students
After the English guidance session on September 22, organizers hosted an International Students Welcome Reception. This event, part of the Student Success Support Project developed by Tokyo Tech’s Student Support Center, aimed to create a place where international students could interact with their Japanese counterparts in a comfortable setting.

Participants included 12 new students representing China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India. They were accompanied by 13 international students who joined the Global Scientists and Engineers Program (GSEP) — Tokyo Tech’s English-language bachelor’s degree program — in spring 2020, and one who joined GSEP in spring 2021. To facilitate interaction between new international and Japanese students, members of the student group Taki Plaza Gardeners (TPG), Tokyo Tech’s Student Association for Global Exchange (SAGE), and 10 other current students were also present to offer their support.

After moderator Yuuga Yashima, a 2nd-year master’s student in Chemistry, opened the event, Student Support Center Head Tetsuji Okamura offered his warm greeting. He encouraged Tokyo Tech’s newest cohort to make their learning meaningful and develop deep friendships during their time at Tokyo Tech, their new home away from home.

Next, the audience were treated to an authentic cultural performance. Asakichi Kineya, a descendant of the Sakichi Kineya family who have been performing nagauta shamisen since the Edo Period, played an excerpt from the Kanjincho, one of the Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays. Artist Kineya also explained Kanjincho using reference materials that the audience had received in advance. “If you ever have a chance to go to a kabuki play or listen to the shamisen, please think back to what you experienced today,” Kineya concluded before receiving a warm ovation.

Greeting from Student Support Center Head Tetsuji Okamura
Greeting from Student Support Center Head Tetsuji OkamuraAsakichi Kineya playing nagauta shamisen
Asakichi Kineya playing nagauta shamisen
After the artistic performance, the new international students joined group discussions guided by one TPG member and one SAGE member in each group. They exchanged contact details and learned more about each other by talking about different topics, including what had surprised them upon arrival in Japan.

Students making new friends in groups

Students making new friends in groups
To close the session, President Masu held a Q&A session to further encourage and motivate the new students. Masu, who had received a set of tough questions from the students beforehand, shared his experiences while wishing everyone success on their Tokyo Tech journeys.President Masu answering questions from new international students
President Masu answering questions from new international students
Participants left the orientation session with a souvenir package of snacks, green tea, financier cake stamped with the Tokyo Tech Seal, and original Tokyo Tech stationery, all prepared by the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association.

Student Success Support Section is here to help

Tokyo Tech’s Student Success Support Section exists to offer the Institute’s students support in a number of ways.

Student Life Coaches, based in Taki Plaza on Ookayama Campus and the Suzukakedai Library on Suzukakedai Campus, offer advice on academics and university life in Japanese, English, and Chinese. They share information — mostly for bachelor’s degree students — through their official LINE account, provide evening seminars, offer tutoring for Basic Science and Technology Courses, and lots more.
The International Student Support Desk, located in Taki Plaza, offers support in a variety of ways so that international students can lead a smooth, comfortable student life at Tokyo Tech.
Career Support Services: Specialized career advisors provide information on career paths at pre-booked appointments either on Ookayama or Suzukakedai Campus. These supporters can also provide general career counseling, answer basic questions about job hunting, and offer specific how-to advice.

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