Meet Lance–a Bridging Scholar Alumnus!

March 8, 2017 

Allow me to first thank the organization for the $4000 Bridging Scholarship stipend I received. It was a great help to me when I studied abroad at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan from September 2015 to August 2016. I took part in the Junior Year Program for Engineering (JYPE). I took Japanese courses taught in Japanese, engineering courses, and undergraduate research training courses. The research I did with Nakazawa Labs at the RIEC institute gave me a chance to work alongside graduate students and professors. I felt overwhelmed at first, I had no idea about quantum mechanics, let alone what a coherent transmission was. This lab is on the cutting edge of high-speed optical communications through optical fibers. I was required to learn a great deal in order to carry out my assigned experiment. The drive and focus required of me at that time, as well as the problem-solving and interpersonal communication skills I developed in the presence of a language barrier will help me succeed in my future work in Japan.

My message to all students who study abroad in Japan is this: Strive to improve yourself! Set the bar high and do not be complacent. Take risks and make mistakes. Just do it. You’ll be very happy you did. I was a very different person getting on the plane coming back home. And now I have resumed my life here. Everything I was able to do before Japan, I can do now, and much better. That being said, I know now, more than ever, that I want to go back for an extended period of time someday. There are people I want to enjoy life with over there.

If you would like to see Lance’s journey in Japan, visit his YouTube channel to learn more.