Lives of the Nikkei scholarship 'Dream Come True Project' students ～Niwa Tatiane Monique
Why did you decide to study in Japan?
Since I was a teenager I witnessed my mother’s life as a student in Japan, I even lived with her while she was studying with the NFSA scholarship at Nagoya University for her doctorate. At the time I believed that studying in Japan and following in my mother’s footsteps was almost impossible, really a dream, as I saw all scholarship students as amazing people and almost superheroes, for getting this amazing and rare opportunity. I returned to Brazil and continued my studies, for a while I focused on finding my passion and area that I wanted to pursue for my future. When I finally found architecture, I focused on studying to be a prominent student, and during college I started thinking, what is the next step? I wanted to continue my studies in architecture and with the help of my mother’s encouragement I started researching about studying in Japan. Architecture in Japan is very different from Brazil and I found in it an incredible opportunity to grow and be featured in my area when I return to Brazil
How is your life in Japan?
When I arrived in Japan I had little difficulty as I felt a great support from the other NFSA Fellows who always helped me when I needed it as a family. This made the beginning of my life in Japan much easier than other stories I heard from friends who came to live in Japan. Living in the dorm in the first year also helped to strengthen my friendship ties with the shinkis that entered with me in the scholarship. And I believe this feeling of family that I feel inside the scholarship is also thanks to the many events that take place throughout the year that gathers all who are scattered throughout Japan to work and participate together. Life in Japan goes by very fast, many experiences to live, I believe my advice would be to make the most of everything and try to participate as much as possible inside the laboratory that you enter in the university. Thanks to this scholarship I have the unique opportunity to study at a good university in Japan and enrich my design knowledge in architecture.
Tell us about your present study or research.
I am currently in the laboratory of Professor Furuya Nobuaki, one of the best architecture professionals within Waseda University. It was a joy to be accepted in this laboratory that is very open to foreigners. In the lab I focus on projects that involve design, as this is my focus on architecture at the moment. Two projects I am involved in are about studying Japanese nature schools and another is about revitalizing an area of Minokamo City, a city I studied when I lived in Japan over 10 years ago. I will start my research in 2020 and the title has not yet been defined, but it will be in the area of architectural design involving Brazil and Japan. Also involving the north of Brazil and comparison between the two countries.
Did your consciousness as a Nikkei change in any way through studying in Japan?
Definitely. I have always lived in northern Brazil and the only contact I had with Japanese culture was to know that I was a descendant. I grew up knowing it was Nikkei, and I didn’t see it as much to think about, it was something natural to me. But since joining the scholarship and listening to stories, lectures, conversations with friends, and so on about Nikkei life, I began to think more about it and even see my experiences in life. Today I am more aware of what it is to be Nikkei, my connection with both countries, my responsibility to represent both Japan when I am in Brazil, and Brazil when I am in Japan.
What is your dream for the future?
My dream right now is to be able to use what I learned in Japan for my life, not just what I learned at university, but also the experience of living in Japan alone, something that taught me a lot. In my country I hope to be able to work in my area and be independent. When I return to Brazil, I hope I can work for a while as a teacher and open an architecture office where I can use combinations of architecture from Brazil and Japan.
Please give a message to students who are considering studying in Japan.
Try it! I know it can be a little scary to try a scholarship like this. Everyone has the fear of trying and failing, like everything else in life. But as in many situations in life, here you have nothing to lose and even if you can’t at first, try again! Try it till you can, learn from past mistakes, enjoy that the scholarship is up to 35 years old, ask for help from people within the scholarship or alumni, everyone will help! I know this, because that’s what I did, I asked for help from several alumni besides my mother. Having the opportunity to study in a first world country like Japan is for the few, and with everything paid is even rarer. You need to use the opportunity to be Nikkei and the incentives we have for studying in Japan. And most of all, face the first step to that, the fear of “ not being enough ”. Find confidence, take risks and try.