Katrina Navallo — An Unexpected Love Story in Japan

When Katrina Navallo first arrived in Japan in April 2016 from the Philippines with a laundry list of tasks to accomplish, such as setting up a Japan Post Office bank account, moving into her new dorm room, and starting an Intensive Japanese Language program through the MEXT Scholarship program for 5 months at Kyoto University, she had no expectations of what was to come her way.

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Katrina Navallo — A Filipino Expat in Japan, Pursuing a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University

With a wealth of diverse experiences ranging from consulting for the Asian Development Bank and Civika, a local NPO to working in the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines, Katrina Navallo was ready to embark on a fresh new challenge — one that would take her to Japan to research about migrant workers in the social sciences field at Kyoto University. But it wasn’t without challenges. In fact, she was initially rejected in her first attempt to earn the prestigious Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship. Through grit and determination, she studied how to earn the MEXT Scholarship, and crafted a winning application the following year.

After learning about her acceptance, Katrina took an enormous risk by packing her bags, saying 'goodbye' to loved ones, and moving to Japan with close to 0, Japanese language skills. All of this was done, to pursue her dream of earning a Ph.D. in the Graduate School of Asian and African Studies at Kyoto University, in a topic that she was truly passionate about.

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Venturing Into Silicon Valley's Top Technology Companies — Part 2 | シリコンバレーのトップテクノロジー企業の冒険

Over the course of 5 days in early August 2017, 6 Kyoto University undergraduate students, my Professor — Chihiro Suematsu— and I, visited 6 top technology companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were fortunate enough to visit my former colleagues and extended network at Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, and Google.

I’d like to express my deep appreciation to our countless hosts, both this year and last year, as well as my professor for making this Silicon Valley trip a reality.

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Cultivating Women Entrepreneurs and Female Founders in Japan

In July, I had the great fortune of presenting at a fantastic Non-Profit Organization or NPO called Kyoto SMI (Kyoto STEM Cells, Smart Materials & Innovation. 

The goals of the presentation were the following: 

  1. Provide an overview of my background, 
  2. Share major highlights about the research I've done so far regarding female founders in Japan, and
  3. Offer a few recommendations on how Kyoto SMI can cultivate and support more women entrepreneurs in Japan. 

Thank you very much for taking a look at this presentation.

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Women for World Peace Japanese Speech Contest|日本語弁論大会

After hours upon hours of preparing and practicing the presentation, I finally presented the following speech about “My Future Aspirations” to an audience of over 50 people, including the local mayor. The Women for World Peace (WFWP) NGO organized a half day of festivities for us, replete with a sushi bento for lunch, two spectacular performances, an awards ceremony, and light dessert with the judges at the end.

Enjoy part of my presentation (on albeit, a shaky camera).

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Let's Bring on the Sunshine & Positivity!

I. Why Do You Blog?

Originally, I built my website as a portfolio of what I planned to accomplish, if I were fortunate enough to earn the Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship. Fortunately, I did receive the scholarship, and decided to make this an online resource for Japanese women who are thinking about starting their own business. And now, it's evolved into a collection of inspirational stories of Japanese female entrepreneurs, plus my musings of living abroad as an expat in Kyoto!

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