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A renowned private university in Japan, Waseda University has also proven itself in the field of research. The university barred its boldness with the Waseda Vision 150, and in recent times geared itself to accommodate international students becoming a truly international university and community.
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Formerly known as Tokyo College, Waseda University was established in 1882 by a Japanese political Shigenobu Okuma. The first departments that composed the then-university were English, Law, Physical, and Political Science. By 1902, it acquired its university status that led to the foundation of other scholarly faculties such as Economics and Literature. Founded upon the principles of independent scholarship and a profound understanding of the scholars’ role in applying it through the practice of good citizenship, the university then continued to grow and allowed the establishment of other departments, both undergraduate and graduate, for the next century to come.
※ Waseda University, "Founding of the University"
Waseda University acquired a prestigious status amongst the universities in Japan. In 2020, Times Higher Education World University Rankings considered the institution to be 13th best in Japan and within the 601-800th bracket in the world. This is recognition for the university's tireless commitment to promoting expertise and research in different academic fields. Waseda University has more than 5,000 international students in undergraduate and graduate levels, and more than 100 non-Japanese faculty members spread across various departments. Its status in fostering intensive internationalization is driven by its topnotch programs that endeavor to connect with regional and global organizations such as ASEAN and UNESCO.
※ Times Higher Education World University Rankings, "Waseda University" ※ Waseda University, "The top university for international students"
Furthermore, the prestige of graduating from Waseda University is extended to its notable alumni. A good number of Japanese business figures and politicians are graduates of the institution. Former and current CEOs of Japan’s top companies such as Mitsubishi, Sony, UNIQLO, and Nintendo were all graduates of Waseda University. Its international status is also manifested through its programs that involved former U.S. President Bill Clinton, American politician Robert F. Kennedy, and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates.
There are many facets to justify why Waseda University is an excellent university to pursue academic studies. These programs are highly internationalized, as the medium of teaching used is English. Moreover, there are more than 50 degrees that are offered purely in English and more than 1,500 language courses offered in 28 languages. Having such a comprehensive course selection, opportunities for Japanese and international students alike are certainly abounding.
Enjoying a relatively high ranking with its peers in the country as well as in the world, Waseda’s business school is renowned for its thorough MBA program, explaining just how the university produced individuals with the most distinguished business acumen in the country, as mentioned earlier. Waseda’s competitiveness, however, isn’t just limited to business because its programs on engineering, humanities, sciences, and sports-related subjects are remarkable globally, with some of them making it into the top 10 to 100 in their respective fields.
Aside from the degree-based school programs, the university also fosters outstanding research programs. It partners with other universities and colleges in Japan under the supervision of the Japanese Government to spearhead essential research projects. Funding and grants were given to its more than 2,000 members of the research body from undergraduate and graduate levels to engage with multidisciplinary activities that may be partnered with international education and research institutions.
※ Waseda University, "Why Waseda?"
Having a sufficient foundation on understanding the international standing of the university, we direct the discussion to Waseda Vision 150. It is a program committed to manifest the university's leading role in Asia. Composed of 4 visions in developing and honing students to be an asset to humanity, it coheres with globalization's concept. Through the initiative of establishing and expanding academic and research opportunities for the international society, Waseda University believes that by its 150th founding anniversary in 2032, the institution will be able to eagerly create remarkable changes within the institutions as well as to the world. Inviting a larger role of international students and faculty and substantial investment in research activities is one of the general program leading to the aim. Local students will be allowed as well to engage with supported studies abroad that will heighten their consciousness with the global society.
Of course, these comprehensive and promising undertakings would not be possible without a spatial structure that will house it. Waseda University, in its main campus, is composed of more than 20 buildings and facilities that served the university community. Two of these facilities are the Waseda University Library and Waseda Museum. These two are endeared for its historical experience, witnessing the gradual development and expansion of the university across the 20th century.
Waseda University Library is known to be one of the largest libraries in Japan. It holds more than 5 million books distributed in its 5 main branches. The library endured more than a century of history since it was founded in the late 1800s alongside the foundation of Waseda University. Numerous collections prized for its cultural and historical value can be found in the library. Access to it is exclusive for students and faculties at Waseda University. However, by 2000s, the access is expanded for other research fellows from partner universities in and outside Japan.
Waseda Museum is equally important and respected in Japan. It homes various collections of Japanese as well as Asian cultural heritage. On an annual basis, it hosts cultural exhibitions from around the world in one of its facilities. The well-known Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, esteemed for its intricate architecture, is one of the museums operated by Waseda.
※ Waseda University, "Libraries & Museums"
Another noteworthy program at Waseda University is its annual Waseda Summer Session. International students are allowed to enroll in this 4-week all-inclusive course that focuses on various aspects of Japan and Asia. Series of lecture series is conducted and out of the school and activities are done throughout to help a student to broaden their perspective of the Asian nation. Aside from these activities, students are also taught the Japanese language. An optional three-level Japanese language course is offered specifically of international students to help them gauge the fundamental experience of Japanese culture.
Another highlight of Waseda University would be its intercultural network called as Intercultural Communication Center. ICC is grounded upon two concepts: providing opportunities for mutual exchange for students and provide assistance for cross-cultural understanding. The network initiates activities that involve the participation of both foreign and local students in Waseda. Activities such as field trips, language workshops, sporting events and outreach programs are organized on a weekly basis to create, establish and enhance connection within the university environment.
A sense of cross-cultural attitude is encouraged in Waseda. Considering its deep appreciation of global spirit, international students in Waseda are not neglected at all. Clubs, organizations, and different social groups are established in the university to help students from diverging backgrounds to have a sense of connection to one another. It demonstrates the conduciveness of campus life in Waseda for international interaction as well as the holistic development of students’ links to one another. Along with it is the administrative support for international students through scholarships. There are more than 200 scholarship programs that are offered for both local and international students to secure their consistent studies in the institution.
There are many things worthy of attention when talking about Waseda University. Geared towards its promise to further develop an international caliber of education and a respectable sense of global community, it is just absurd to disregard the university in the discussion. It is certain for any international students who dream of continuing their academic pursuit in Japan that Waseda University is a beneficial and desirable place to be in.
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