Niyati Rawal is one of the most inspiring and intelligent young women that I know. Not only did she move to Japan at the age of 19 to spend one year studying Japanese intensively before pursuing a Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering degree at Osaka University, but she also published articles and conducted presentations about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Needless to say, Niyati is a high achieving, intriguing, and most importantly, warm-hearted person with a bright future.
In this second article, learn more about how Niyati transitioned from India to Japan, and some of the major challenges she had to overcome.
Niyati’s Transition from a Protective Environment in India to an Unknown Country and Brand New Culture
In India, Niyati grew up in a very protective environment. Not only were there many rules and regulations in her high school, but also her parents did everything for her and her sister, so that they could focus on their studies. Because her mother was focused on her children’s education, she would often help Niyati with her homework and studying for exams. Also, she never hosted dinners during exams, so that her children could focus on studying.
Coming from this type of protective environment to a brand new country with a unique culture, was jolting.
Niyati’s Major Challenges Upon Arrival in Japan
When she moved to Japan, she no longer had the support of her family and community, so she had to start doing everything on her own like moving into her new housing, buying groceries, cooking meals, doing laundry, etc. To make matters more challenging, she was the only Indian student in the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies out of approximately 50 students.
As a result, she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to make friends, as she was in a brand new country, with new foods, culture, history, and language. However, her worries were unnecessary, as she quickly became friends with the other students, who were in the exact same situation as her — confused, a bit of culture shock, lonely at times, and also, very excited to explore their new home.
Having these challenges made Niyati more empathetic, appreciative, and strong. In Japan, she gained a deeper appreciation for her mother, who was always so caring and supportive. And while she used to be very quiet and shy in high school, she quickly learned that she needed to reach out for help when needed, and be vocal in order to have a successful 5 years in Japan.
In the next article, learn more about Niyati’s first year in Japan in an intensive Japanese Language Program as part of the Japanese MEXT Undergraduate Scholarship Program.