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At first, I would like to thank everyone involved in the academic mobility. That was one of multiple advantages for me due to which I chose education at the Higher School of Economics.
In fact, as for the internship, this is a story from my childhood. I think many people born in 90s also remember the first signs of extended and mass pervasion of the so-called Western and Japanese cultures. Today it is usual to treat it as something not quite proper. As for me, I tend to the idea of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in this regard: ‘When someone thinks differently than me, he/she not only does not offend me by it, but, on the opposite, enriches me. The basis of our unity is the Human Being who is superior than anyone of us’. One way or another, such acquaintance with the Japanese culture continuing to the present day forged an indelible impression on me and back then I understood that I will visit this picturesque and charming country sooner or later.
In Representation Theory, falling into my field of interest, a lot was done and is being done by the Japanese mathematicians. That is why I decided to combine the useful with the pleasant, considering that Japan is still quite a closed country. Besides, needless to say, the University of Tokyo is one of the top universities in the world.
The University of Tokyo has several campuses and each has everything necessary so that you do not have to leave it and can immerse yourself fully in studies: starting from study rooms equipped, I would say, even excessively, and ending with sports fields, libraries, recreation areas, parks, medical institutions, hair salons and cafes. All departments are open 24/7. The only inconvenience is that if you are tall (and I am 190 cm), it is a little uncomfortable to sit at the desks, since they are not designed for people of this height.
Much attention is paid to the pastime of students. In particular, I was surprised by the number of events and various clubs: the entire campus was covered with posters. What is more, the Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences is conveniently located within a 20-30 minutes’ walk (2 stops) to Shibuya, the main tourist center.
Bureaucracy is everywhere. I was preparing for the internship for half a year and I could barely do it on time. I can only express my gratitude to both parties who helped me to do it in time. There are certain bureaucratic procedures that are impossible to accelerate. I was surprised that six months may not be enough for that.
Many people are frightened that it will be too difficult without knowing the Japanese language. Maybe it is true. However, I do not speak it and I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it is because I am a postgraduate student and communication with my research adviser is more important for me. Though it is possible to illustrate this problem. There was no course in English at the Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, and there were only 16 of them across the whole University, not counting the English language courses. In any case, I completed the courses on statistics, robotics and economics, took part in Tokyo-Berkeley Data Science Boot Up Camp and was satisfied with everything. As for the everyday life, everyone is trying to learn English on the threshold of the Olympic Games even beyond Tokyo. All people are friendly and always ready to help. Tokyo itself is one of the safest cities. So, there is no need to be afraid of anything.
Prices are equal to the Moscow level or even lower, but some of them are higher. In the Internet era, it is possible to get new interesting and useful contacts prior to the trip.
If possible, visit other cities, even the smallest ones, at least around Tokyo, to better understand Japanese culture. They are all unique and unforgettable.
And of course do not be afraid to try sushi!
As for me, acquaintance with a different culture, system of values and education system, as well as studying the foreign language, is a method to extend the borders of thinking.
Therefore, in conclusion I can only recommend you not to delay it. Japan, and the University of Tokyo in particular, will be the perfect place for your internship.