SJCC Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce
Scholarship Fund/Reports & Testimonials/Scholarship Reports

Roland Schmucki

Final Report


During my stay in Japan, there have been moments when I did not know what will be in the near future. There were only questions and no answers, as I mentioned in the introduction, for example when I had to apply for the university. I could not plan my future; I had to take one step forward without knowing the next. Sometimes, I just could wait and hope that everything goes well.

With hindsight, I realized that I could overcome those difficulties, in some cases alone, in others with external support. Nevertheless, I am sure that it was a good decision to come to Japan for my PhD study. I have learnt and undergone much more than I ever expected.

As experienced during my exchange year in Paris five years ago, I have met a lot of interesting people and made some good friends from all over the world. I have gotten to know parts of a culture which were totally unknown to me before. At first, I did not come to Japan to study Japanese language but meanwhile, I realized that I really want to learn it and use it for the daily communication. Furthermore, I began to like this language partially due to my progress. Obviously, my stay is focused on performing my PhD but I do not forget about enjoying the other sides of life besides studying. I have made some very good friends and I am beginning to like the city of Tokyo.

Another important aspect, especially in terms of my academic education, is to have insight into another university besides ETH Zurich and another education system, different from the one I have undergone in Switzerland. I think it is essential to know about the educational system and the significance of universities in society and working life, especially for daily “research life” in collaboration with my Japanese colleagues and possibly for my future career.

I am not done yet with my stay in Japan or, in short, with my "Japanese adventure" - there are two and a half years more to go. For sure, there will be some more problems to solve and experiences to undergo. However, I am looking forward to it and I am confident that I can overcome them as well and that all will turn out alright.

To cut a long story short, everyday life in Japan is new and interesting. I never get bored. All this gives me the necessary energy and power to master the forthcoming challenges. And so far, I do not regret my decision. On the contrary, I found the answers to the questions I asked in the beginning, and I am curious about the new ones and the answers to them.

I am deeply grateful to the members of the SJCC Scholarship Foundation for the generous and straightforward financial support. This sponsorship rendered it possible to start learning the Japanese language as well as to finance the university fees and a part of my daily living expenses. I would like to express my special acknowledgement to the chairman of the Scholarship Foundation Mr. Paul Dudler as well as Mr. Felix Moesner from the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo for his support and encouragement.

In conclusion, I wish that through my stay in Japan I will be able to contribute now and in future to a good and fruitful relationship between people from Japan, Switzerland and other countries I get to know during this stay.