Lab Member’s Voice VOL. XVIII: Ayushman Bhatt

Why did I choose the International Project Lab?:

I came from India where I was studying infrastructure engineering and management with a background in civil engineering. My graduate education there inspired me to plan a career in transport infrastructure development, however, unlike the conventional transport engineering studies, I wanted to study the subject through a lens of its indisputable overlap with other disciplines (such as economics, regional/urban planning, social sciences, etc.). Japan became an obvious option to consider for higher studies when I learnt about its history in coherent transport planning and commitment to the utmost quality in serving societal needs. I was fortunate to also get selected for a scholarship that was jointly offered by the University of Tokyo and the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs), where I was studying in India. Then during my search of an interdisciplinary environment that I was keenly searching, I found about IP Lab and the range of multidisciplinary research interests that faculties have had with their diverse expertise. This moved me to get in touch with them and apply. On receiving a positive response given I secured the scholarship already, I got highly encouraged to join the IP Lab and begin another educational journey with a new set of opportunities and challenges. I have definitely experienced and learnt much more than I imagined and will remain grateful for the rare chance to become a part of the IP Lab. The pool of faculties, diverse range of students, researchers and all other peers whom I have come across in past years, have all nurtured my interests and abilities to envisage a research career in the field of infrastructure development. IP Lab also provided me exposure to several other related fields and professionals from whom I learnt many things that were outside of my direct interest and imagination. It is also always a pleasure to interact with the great network of IP Lab’s alumni as well as eminent guests, and continue this journey of evolving. I look forward to a continued relationship with this group even after finishing my studies here.

My life in Japan

Well, thinking about life in Japan since I have come here brings a mixed set of realizations and feelings to me. This is possibly due to the unique challenges as well as opportunities it brought to my life. The journey hasn’t always been smooth and at times much turbulent owing to the phenomenal lifestyle changes I had to go through. In the end, what I feel good about is I have witnessed sufficiently large personal transformations in my abilities to manage my life, right from building survival skills in a foreign land where I had little sense of belongingness initially to eventually evolving as a confident professional who tried to learn from each one of my experiences here. I am also glad that life in Japan made me cross paths with some amazing people whom I will always remember and cherish the time I spent with them. I also loved the landscapes and coastlines in Japan and will always want to keep coming back and visiting various places. I think these facts were enough to convince me that I have accomplished what I was here for.

Message for future students/applicants:

I think that planning for graduate studies is one of the most important phases in anyone’s life. Different people decide for it at different stages like some would plan in continuation to their undergrad studies and many others would think of enrolling after getting some work experience. I think this makes the graduate school a unique place to be in. It also indicates that graduate programs are “no one size fit all” type phenomena. If you plan for enrolling in a graduate school, consider well your motivation and accordingly select an appropriate program. Do not rely only on various university rankings. Research well about the available departments and the particular groups that are of interest to you. Try to seek opportunities to visit or at least talk to them and discuss what you are looking for before turning in your formal application. You will know multiple perspectives of the topics you are interested in and also a lot more about the admission procedures. Give your best to the applications you decide to formally submit. Lastly, learn to accept what you get and try harder once you start your graduate studies. Remember that graduate programs are “no one size fit all” type.