2011 April Enrollment

Lee Eng Ming

Name Lee Eng Ming
Enrolled year 2011 April (as a Research Student in Oct, 2010)
Hometown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Course name International Course in Management of Civil Infrastructure
Laboratory Structural Mechanics lab (Professor Kunitomo Sugiura)
University or college of your undergraduate University Technology Malaysia

 What did you study or major in at undergrad level?

DSC03234.jpgI obtained my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering. From an early age, my favorite pastime is to construct and assemble blocks of LEGO into different objects, buildings and robots. Moreover, I have always been fascinated with buildings, bridges, and any structures that have unique designs such as the Colosseum in Italy and Sagrada Familia in Spain. It is these in particular which attracts me to civil engineering study.

 Do you have any working experience before starting this Master's Program?

I have interned at one of Malaysia's largest civil and building construction corporation with prominent recognition in the fields of hospitality, education, healthcare and property development during my third year undergraduate study. After graduating, I have also worked for a short duration in a Building Intelligence Modeling (BIM) software company before coming to Japan to further my study.

Why Kyoto University?

lab2.jpgWhen I have decided to do my Master's study in Japan, the only major problem I faced is choosing a university from a broad array of excellent Japan universities. I have searched a lot of information on many universities and also the surrounding places. The top universities in Japan have more or less the same excellent engineering courses, facilities, state-of-the-art technologies and services for students to grow and learn. In the end, I chose Kyoto University. A tranquil place with many fascinating gardens, temples, shrines, and many world heritage sites; a combination of ancient and modern city; home to so much history and culture, Kyoto has all of them. This is the place where I want to live in. Another reason for choosing Kyoto University is the research field that I am interested in. I am glad that a prominent professor from such a reputable university is willing to accept me, a foreign student who could not speak a single Japanese word at that time.

<Lab's excursion>

What is a typical day at Kyoto University like?

Studying in a top Japan university and surrounded by many outstanding minds and talents is a dream come true for me. Every day it is an academically stimulating environment where everyone put in a lot of effort into their research. Despite all the challenging and hectic works in laboratory, students here still are able to find time to enjoy themselves like playing baseball in the nearby field in campus, hanging out with friends over a game of badminton and basketball in the gym and so on. In any day in campus, I can easily meet many friends coming from different backgrounds and countries. This is also one of the advantages Kyoto University has because it attracts many international students furthering their study or research here.

Which is your favorite class?

I like all my classes equally. However, I enjoyed most one particular core subject that I took. It is the Exercise on Project Planning. Students can choose to do any project individually or in group as long as it is related to their field of study. For this project, my Japanese labmates and I participated in the annual Japan Steel Bridge Competition 2011. We had a lot of fun spending our effort and time brainstorming and discussing our project. Representing Kyoto University, our 5 team members’ bridge model won the first prize in the aesthetic category, 3rd place in judges’ choice-display section and 3rd place in overall performance of the exhibition match.

What is life in Kyoto like?

Living in Kyoto is not as fast-paced as anyone would think. With so many interesting and amazing places to visit in Kyoto, I am always thinking or planning for a trip together with friends. My friends and I often rent cars and drive to the places we want to visit. Kyoto is also a place with a variety of food. When I was in my first year in Kyoto, my friends and I even researched about the various Ramen(Japanese noodle dish) restaurants to find out their popularity and ranking before trying them out ourselves.

What do you do in your spare time?

kamogawa.jpgI enjoy playing with friends for a game of badminton in campus during my spare time. Besides that, I always gather with some close friends for a light chat when I was exhausted mentally and physically from doing my research works. During weekends, I would either go for a movie or meet friends at the beautiful Kamogawa river.

<At Kamogawa river>

Where do you live now?

I am living in Katsura, a serene small town which is located in the west part of Kyoto city. Previously, I have stayed for six months near Yoshida main campus of Kyoto University when I first arrived in Japan. After passing the entrance examinations, I moved to Katsura which is nearer to Katsura campus where most of the engineering departments can be found here.

Do you receive any scholarship?

sakura.jpgYes, I obtained the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship. The stipend provided is sufficient for living in Japan.

<Sakura flower viewing with labmates>

What do you want/plan to do after you graduate?

Initially, I plan to find a job in Japan after graduate. However, after several months of job hunting, I failed to land a job due to my poor proficiency in Japanese language. It was also because I only tried a few companies of my preference. I will go back to my country and hope one day to come back to visit other interesting places in Japan.

Any message for prospective applicants for last?

I have a Japanese student tutor assigned for me in order to assist me to complete certain initial formalities, filling in application forms and help me to adapt to life in Japan. In addition, Kyoto University provides a wide range of Japanese language programs for international students. Although Japanese language proficiency is no required for my study and research, I enjoy taking the classes and learning the language along with many other foreigners. The ability to use Japanese language in daily life is an added advantage to carry out activities such as communicating with labmates, travel and gain more Japanese friends. To all prospective applicants, I hope you will consider Kyoto University for the above mentioned things.