About iUP

Message from the Director

To future Kyoto iUP students

It was back in 1983, when I was a 25-year-old doctoral student, that I left Japan and lived abroad for the first time. I flew from Narita Airport to Seattle for a one-year student exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States. When connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I got on the wrong subway a number of times, and ended up getting off at the parking area and had to go through the inspection gate again. I guess I was nervous and didn't read the signs correctly. I still remember how bright and clear the sky of Seattle was when I finally reached the gate of my domestic flight. I started my doctoral student life in Madison just like that. Not everything I experienced was fresh and dazzling like the Seattle sky, and not all the things I learned were uplifting and enjoyable. There was more than one night when I cried myself to sleep. There were times I felt lonely, sad, or depressed when things did not go as expected. Leaving one's home country and living in a different culture is not easy, and many things happen that might make you feel lonely, painful, sad, or joyful. However, I believe these experiences can help people to discover who they are and grow as individuals.

Why don't you consider flying out from your country and experiencing life and study here in Japan, in Kyoto, at Kyoto University? Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan. Many ancient shrines, temples, and gardens still exist today, making Kyoto a cultural center that is visited by many tourists from within Japan and abroad. Kyoto University was established in 1897, and for more than 120 years, it has been a hub for academics, producing many talented graduates. It is our pride that we are home to unique and extraordinary researchers and scientists, including the winners of major international awards such as the Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, and even the Ig Nobel Prize.

Many Japanese universities offer international courses, but Kyoto University's International Undergraduate Program (Kyoto iUP) is uniquely designed to allow students to study not only in specialized fields, like the humanities, science, and engineering, but also Japanese language and culture. This enables them to create many good memories of fun times and laughter, and helps them to be better equipped to cope with any hard times and tears. It is our hope that, upon graduation, our international students will have forged close links with both Japan and Kyoto University.

As the director of Kyoto iUP, I strongly hope that all of you will have faith in your own potential and move forward with high hopes for tomorrow. Kyoto iUP has a lot to offer. Through intellectually stimulating classes by enthusiastic professors and frank and enjoyable discussions with fellow students from all over the world, we hope that you will experience the joy and fascination of study, learn many new things, and spread your wings and fly.


Masahiro Ohshima
Kyoto iUP Office