"I have always wanted to see Asia from different perspectives"
- Kana Sasagawa
Kana Sasagawa is a Japanese student who wants to change the world. This is one of the reasons she enrolled in the dual degree programme offered by Sciences Po and Keio University.
Sciences Po: Where are you from? Where did you go to high school?
I’m from Tokyo, Japan, and I have lived here almost whole my life. I went to Shibuya junior and senior high school for 6 years and the most important thing I learned there was the spirit of “Noblesse oblige”. It is now my motto for life.
Why did you apply for the Sciences Po-Keio University dual degree?
I knew that Sciences Po was famous for politics and international studies, but I didn’t know that there was a campus dedicated to the relations between Europe and Asia. I have always wanted to see Asia from different perspectives, that’s why this dual degree programme was a great opportunity for me to adopt another viewpoint on my region. As well, since I was a child, I have always wanted to study with people from different backgrounds because I love to meet with and talk to new people. I have never forgotten this dream.
The admissions committee at Sciences Po particularly appreciated your truly international mindset. How did you acquire this open-mindedness?
When I was a high school student, I met Japanese friends with very international backgrounds. It was always exciting to hear stories from them, and it made me want to see the world with my own eyes. So I decided to go to the United States as an exchange student. I met people from all over the world there, and I realised how big the world is and how fun it is to share stories about different cultures, thoughts, countries and so on. Since then, my dream has been to discover the world and meet as many people as possible. This dream guided my choices over the last three or four years.
The admission procedure for this dual degree includes a 30 minute conversation with representatives from Sciences Po and Keio University. How did it go during this interview? What questions were you asked?
I was very nervous so, honestly, I don’t really remember. There were five professors in the room, which made me even more nervous. First, they asked me very basic questions: about myself my reason for applying to this programme, etc., but I even forgot to say my name! Then they asked some questions about the U.S., and I couldn’t express well enough what I really wanted to say. So obviously, I had the feeling that my interview went very badly. However, when I left the room, one professor told me that he was very interested in what I had done in my life. I thought I’d failed but somehow I made it.
You interned in Mumbai as a teacher last year, and at the Embassy of Maldives in Japan in 2015. Do you have any career prospects yet?
To be honest, I haven’t decided what I want to be yet. There are too many things I want to do in the future. In Mumbai, I met children living in desperate poverty but they always smiled at me and said “thank you teacher!”. I didn’t know what to say, I wanted to do something very big for them, but I could only teach them very basic English and maths. Ever since then, I have really wanted to change this unequal society. Even though this sounds impossible, I believe that this double degree programme will give me a chance to take action.