After I graduated from the university in which I was enrolled as a working adult, and seven years after I left the JOCV, I felt as though I wanted to become involved in international cooperation again. I enrolled in this graduate school to obtain an MPH as I believed, in addition to my experience as a midwife, that it was necessary to have knowledge in public health to work in the field of international health. After completing this study, fate led me to become a specialist for a JICA project for the second time. The notion of “health” is simple, but you cannot understand a phenomenon in front of you from multiple perspectives unless you have a broad perspective. The same is true for communication skills. In addition to the language skills, developing relationships with others is a key element of this work. It was during these two years in the graduate school that I learned how to integrate the knowledge and experience that I had gained in the past and utilize it in practice. What I have learned through meeting with and receiving support from very knowledgeable and experienced professors, fellow students with a variety of excellent attributes, and many people during internships and research has made me the professional I am today. I’m offering training now. Seeing these trainees who have grown rapidly over the past year inspires me to want to teach them much more. I need to continue
studying on a daily basis as I was taught by former Dean Aoki that I still have a lot to learn. Every day I am learning various things from the local staff and other experts.
(The Project for Improving Maternal and Newborn Care through Midwifery Capacity Development, Cambodia, JICA)
I was prompted to become involved in international health when I joined the JOCV as a nurse. While I was drawn to the appeal of international cooperation through this work, I had many unpleasant experiences because working in the field required skills and knowledge that are different from what I gained in Japan. This is why I decided to enroll in this course.
During the first year, I had the opportunity to study the basics in a wide range of fields related to international health under the guidance of instructors who played active roles in various parts of the world. I had a fulfilling year as I was allowed to experience things that I was completely unaware of, including what skills I lacked and what kinds of knowledge and skills were required to work in the international field.
This year, I am going to do a long-term internship at the national NGO Plan International Kenya. I will work hard for eight months to convert the knowledge that I gained in the classroom to skills that can be utilized in practical settings as I work along with people from various countries.
In addition to preparing research proposals and attending classes every day, I visited many countries during the first year, including Bangladesh on a short-term internship, the Philippines on a short-term Campus Asia program, and Cambodia to assist my instructor’s research. It was very encouraging to be able to meet senior graduates of our graduate school who are already playing active roles in the field of international health in each country. It also made me realize the vast size of Nagasaki University’s network. I think the biggest appeal of this graduate school is the instructors who are always eager to teach and fellow students with whom you can inspire each other. Moreover, one year in Nagasaki provided an opportunity to assess the framework of global health and consider the health of Japan,a country that features universal healthcare insurance, the longest average life expectancy, and aging population with declining birthrate, in comparison to developing countries. This made me very conscious of the purpose of studying public health in Japan and the role of Japanese individuals working in the field of international health.
Now, I have just begun a long-term internship in Bangladesh which I visited last summer. I plan to work on my research project while assisting with maternal and child health projects in the rural areas and urban slums. Although I am sometimes bewildered by the unfamiliar environment in the Islamic society, I intend to spend each day appreciating the experience gained in the field and the thought process created based on that experience, believing that the difficulties will strengthen my future abilities.
One of the most valuable things that I experienced during the two years of the master’s program was the acquiring of the perspective of cultural and medical anthropology. Prior to my enrollment in this graduate school, I forced my values upon the local people where I implemented my project and felt irritated that things did not go as I expected. There are various cultures in the world, and they change over time. If the project does not suit the culture, lives, and customs of the people, it will not be accepted, or may even worsen the situation. When I went to Kenya during my second year to do field research and an internship on a project related to maternal and child health, the aforementioned perspective that I learned during my first year was very useful. It became keenly obvious that I need a broader point of view in conducting activities in reproductive health, which is my specialty. I am proceeding with my education in the doctorate program now. With more competent skills and knowledge in epidemiology and statistics, I would like to conduct research in the field again. I recommend that you also find your own significant point of view through the curriculum of this school.
Because of my experience as a pharmacist in Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, I decided to come to this school to acquire
a comprehensive perspective. I studied very hard for the past two years. The classes were very interesting. I remember that I was completely drawn into the enthusiastic and realistic lectures. It was difficult because I needed to learn from various fields, but I feel a sense of accomplishment. I conducted research activities during the long‐term internship, which is one of the aspects of this school. My research was to measure the level of understanding of pediatric medical care among parents in Malawi. It started with going through the local ethics committee, and went on to the hiring of research assistants and data collection in the field. Throughout the whole process, I was supported by the professors, office staff, and the local joint researcher. Though difficult, it was a fulfilling and valuable experience for me. At the same time, I was able to find answers to the questions that I had in mind as a volunteer and got to know the enjoyment of research.
It is an asset for me to spend the two years studying with unique students while we helped one another, and I have gained a broad and objective view of situations from various angles. I would like to keep on trying hard and open up opportunities for the future.
Before I started at this school, I felt like the world was full of things that I did not know. After I graduated, I still do not know anything about the world. I feel like the world that I do not know has expanded. Many different types of people have completely different awarenesses. Even with those differences, the world keeps going.
That is it. But that is why it is interesting. I want to know more. I want to explore the things that are not going well. At Nagasaki University, there are many interesting people, both students and professors. The past two years seemed like a small project with a group of 11 students with an aim to trying to obtaining MPH degrees. It was a valuable experience to be able to meet and talk to people who live in a completely different region than me.
There are various perspectives in this unknown world, and we all have to live in different places while believing in ourselves. However, whether or not we know about these perspectives makes a huge difference. I have gained some hints on what I need to think about and what to believe and with what goal in this world from everyone I met in the past two years, and I was able to move forward a bit. With this in mind, I am thinking what I am going to do next.
I started at this school after working as a physician for five years in Japan. Since the first and second training to be a physician was so busy, this next two years seems like such a luxurious time. Right now, I can spend time studying things that I want to learn and receive guidance from professors who are specialized in various fields. What I take from this is up to me, but it has been an eye‐opening experience every day to encounter various perspectives for the first time. Also, the curriculum, with its heavy emphasis on the field, which this school offers is very attractive. Since I did not have any experience working in a developing country, it was quite significant for me to experience the public health system and development situation of Bangladesh during my short‐term field trip. From April 2012, I will start the long‐term internship in the Philippines. This internship program during the second year is a major selling point for this graduate school. I am very excited that it will impact me greatly going forward. After graduation, I hope that I can return something to society from these two years of experience.
Hello. It has been a week since I started my long‐term internship in the provincial department of health in Laos. Although it has been a short time, I had many moments when I realized that what I have learned in my first year is useful. This school offers lectures in a wide variety of fields in small classes. It is a wonderful environment where we can ask questions and talk about our concerns with experienced professors. I have never previously had any experience related to public health. I had some worries about whether I would be able to apply what I have learned in practice while I was learning the wide variety of subjects at this school. However, now that I am actually in the field, I realize that I have more perspectives than previously. I often notice that what I am seeing is related to what my professors have said and what was written in the material that was given. Because of these things, I can actually “compare what I see in front of my eyes to other events”. Of course, what I need to produce from this is a challenge for me, and I am in the midst of training right now. I
truly wish that I could give something in return every time I sense the warmth of my professors in Nagasaki and here. I would like to maximize this opportunity as a student and do what I can during this time.
People can make a decision, have the courage to throw away what they have, and can change their beliefs to accept new concepts because of their will‐defined fundamental beliefs During my experience as a nurse in Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, I had many opportunities to describe my surroundings using my personal awareness, my field senses, and my sympathy . Here, on the other hand, I have many opportunities to train myself to view a
situation calmly from various points of view. I am active in Kenya and am seeing the connections among various things that I have been feeling while learning the basics of various academic subjects at this school.
I have heard that only in Japan and South America, public health is taught in the major language spoken in the country(Japanese for Japan and Spanish for South American countries). Although language is an obstacle in the actual field, one of the reasons that we can understand public health more deeply and acquire the necessary knowledge is that classes are not taught in a foreign language, such as English. However, this school offers an internship program where we can learn closely from strong professors. It is a great opportunity, not only in terms of language, but also as a review of the knowledge we acquired in the classroom through actual experience. In the process of applying first‐year classroom knowledge, we have the chance to put knowledge to use by selecting, judging, and applying it to actual circumstances in a way that maximizes our abilities. I would like to learn various things from the internship process, and so gain confidence and increase my communication abilities.