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Support Forty Year Scholarship Program with the University of Illinois

Students in Illinois. [Intro 2]

Classes has started in UIUC and students have very busy days. Next introduction is by Rise Katsuda!


Hello. My name is Rise Katsuda, the 39th scholar of Koyama Hachiro Memorial Scholarship. I am in the 3rd grade at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, majoring in International Relations, especially laws and politics.

“The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” That’s why I go to the University of Illinois.
During my study at the University of Illinois, I would like to be able to get into depth of International Relations from the views of political science. In order to achieve that goal, it would be necessary not only to take “one-way” classes, but to get across many perspectives on one matter. By having discussions on issues like territorial or regional conflicts with students from various backgrounds, I believe that I can certainly get a chance to understand a new viewpoint and open up wider horizons. That’s why I go out of Japan and study contemporary politics with students at UIUC.

“Illinois, and to the world.”
Before I left Japan, I had committed myself to educational aid in Laos, from fund raising for school construction to the educational support of local children. At the time I joined the student group, I did not have a single clue about international development, and even the exact location of Laos. However, when I visited one school that had been established with the aid of my group, I saw many children studying earnestly with their eyes shining and literally “leaning forward” on their desks. At that sight, I realized that what I could do was to “help children go to school”. Some people often asked me whether it was really necessary to build a school in a very small, mountainous village in Laos. “Isn’t it the imposition of the western values? Do they really need school?” Yes, I sometimes did wonder if my work has done good to the local villagers. I sometimes stopped to reconsider to what extent “a foreigner” could do there, and I became afraid of the big responsibility to be involved in the lives of other people. However, when I recalled those Laotian children studying hard, I felt that “going back and forth in my mind only” could not help solve problems. At one school in Laos, children share stationery, sit on rickety chairs and study in a dark “wooden box” without a roof and lights, and I could not help feeling that there was surely something I could do as a person to be connected with the small village. Through my experience of the international development, I have found that not merely anyone can give a positive impact on other people, but also others “return” something meaningful to him or her at the same time. That is what we call as “reciprocal cooperation,” and I would like to be engaged in international cooperation after I graduate my university. Therefore, while I am at UIUC, I would like to learn international development more in depth.
The University of Illinois offers many extracurricular activities including a two-week fieldwork abroad. I am sure that having on-site activities with locals and UIUC students while in a developing country will widen my understandings toward international development. Also, this is a chance that will come to me never again. Although I am concerned about the expenses, I would like to join this fieldwork, making full use of my experience in Laos.

Studying International Relations from the political viewpoint, while also deepening my special interest in international development at UIUC and another country– These are an extension of my activity in Japan, but are not what I can achieve if I stay in Japan. I am prepared to input the knowledge I get at the UIUC and then output it in the near future. I will continue to make the most of my chance brushing myself up, and I hope to receive your support. Thank you.

Rise Katsuda
International Relations, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies