|Visiting period||September 2016 to March 2017|
|Visiting university||Drexel University|
|Visiting country and region||Philadelphia, USA|
Content of the study program
I participated in the Global University Project (SGU) and studied at Drexel University, Pennsylvania, USA for six months. I conducted research in the field of computer vision as part of Professor Ko Nishio’s group at the Department of Computer Science, College of Computing and Informatics in collaboration with the other members of the research group.
I worked as part of a group where each student (four students including myself) had his or her own research theme and worked independently. My group focused on estimating and separating the illumination and reflectance for scenes of imagery. To improve my productivity, I studied previous works, suggested methods, and worked on implementation. To be more specific, I used a light reflection model called Directional Statistics BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution function) and Bayesian inference to estimate the most accurate reflectance and illumination of imagery. Although this field differs from my field of studies in undergraduate, I learned many the state-of-the-art technologies that I want to apply to my future research activities.
My experience abroad
This study program was my first long-term abroad experience. Since my destination was the United States, the preparation process and acclimating to the food were not too difficult, but speaking only in English and adjusting to the culture were challenging. Fortunately, my research laboratory group and roommates were very helpful. In the end, I have only fond memories despite some hardships. I believe that the benefit of studying abroad is more than just studying.
Influence on my future career
I have always had a desire to work abroad. However, after participating in this study abroad program, my desire has multiplied. Before participating in this program, I only wanted to “work” abroad, but by interacting with local students, I learned the benefits of a long-term study program as a “student”. Prior to this experience, I only had a vague idea of my future career, but now I have much more concrete and bigger idea for my future. From this perspective, my time studying abroad has drastically influenced my future career.
I appreciate all the support received from SGU. Due to their support, I didn’t worry financially and I was able to fully participate in my research activities and engage in living in a different culture. I did not meet other Japanese students in Philadelphia (although there are many Chinese and Korean students). Studying abroad is more than working in a laboratory; it’s an opportunity to learn new values and gain experiences that you can’t find in Japan. I feel that such values will not only influence my career, but also expanded my horizons. I believe that this system should continue so that other students can personally gain such perspectives. P.S. I recommend that you prepare well in advance if you plan to go to a cold area in the winter.