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Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / Developing AI and demystifying humanity

Courtesy of Seiya Kobayashi

Seiya Kobayashi at the college entrance

By Seiya Kobayashi (Earlham College) This column features reports by Japanese students currently studying overseas on their lives on and off campus.

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“Hi, Neal! How was your weekend?”

“Hey, Seiya! Great. How was yours?”

This is a typical conversation in class on Monday at Earlham. It seems normal, but one thing I should mention here is that Neal is not my friend. He’s my professor. At Earlham, regardless of one’s job title or position, everyone is supposed to call each other by their first names. Having spent 1½ semesters in such a small community, I reconfirmed the significance of having other people who sometimes reach out to me when I’m in trouble.

Curiosity. That’s what encouraged me to push myself out of my comfort zone when I was in high school. “Wouldn’t it be nice to spend the next four years outside Japan?” My journey began with such subtle curiosity, which morphed into ambition halfway through and finally became robust volition when I clicked the “Submit” button on the CommonApp, an app for college application. “This is what I’m meant to do.” Reminding myself with these words, I jumped into a totally new environment in August 2016.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

Earlham was not my first choice, yet once I arrived here, I realized it was indeed a nursery of the talents possessed by remarkable students and professors. With a great deal of knowledge exchanged after finishing group projects each week, I feel I will be able to observe this world with a broader scope. It’s even possible here to visit a professor’s house with my friends and share our daily distress or concerns about the future over dinner. And without doubt, it is this vibrant community that helped me figure out my future in the field of computer science.

Just as lots of other students complain, I had no idea what to major in or how to spend my life after graduation. But fortunately, through chats with professors in the Computer Science department, artificial intelligence recently struck me as appropriate. In the coming three years at college, while doing research on AI, understanding our process of thinking by taking courses in various fields of study, and connecting them to engineering, I’ll explore the potential of AI as well as demystify the riddle of human beings. That’s how I am right now. And that’s how Earlham has inspired me.

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Earlham College

Founded in 1847, Earlham College is a private university based in Richmond, In. Students can choose from more than 40 areas of study the most popular being biological and biomedical sciences and social sciences.

In partnership with Ryugaku Fellowship

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