Supporting Success on the Global Stage
It was Niken Prasasti Martono’s decision to take the road less traveled that landed her at Tokyo University of Science.
Midway through a Master’s degree at the prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology (Institut Teknologi Bandung/ITB) in Indonesia, she decided to take the plunge and apply for a special Double Degree Program that would take her to Japan.
“I never really had a burning desire to study in Japan. I’d heard that the courses were difficult and knew the people were very hardworking, but I thought that I should give it a try because it was a big opportunity,” she explains.
Fast-forward to today. Niken is now halfway through her second stint and a second double degree at TUS. Having completed her Master’s she is now working on a doctorate under a program between TUS and ITB.
She first came to TUS after completing her ITB undergraduate studies in Engineering Physics, and one year graduate studies in Science of Management. Being ahead of the curve in her Master’s studies she learned about the double degree program, applied, and arrived in August 2013.
“At first it was very interesting because everything was entirely new. The one problem I had was that I couldn’t speak Japanese at all when I first got here. But I survived one year,” she says.
The 27-year- old Niken did more than survive. She thrived and was offered a chance to continue her research under the double-degree Ph.D. program.
The reason that Niken opted to pursue a doctorate boils down to one word:support. She says that TUS’ robust support network makes it easy to focus on her research.
The level of support at TUS is truly phenomenal. The university is supportive in almost every way. Also, the professors contribute a lot. They have time for you and make time for you,” she says.
The resulting experience has benefitted her on a number of levels. One has been the advanced level of studies.
“I think that Japan is leading in the engineering area so it was one of the best options for me,” she explains.
She is also convinced that the dual degrees will serve her well in the future.
“For me personally, having two degrees—one in the management of science and one in engineering is very helpful. I’m sure it will also prove helpful when I start looking for a job,” she says.
In addition, some of TUS’ positive academic practices have also rubbed off on her.
“I have become much better at managing my time,” she says.
The rigors of TUS have primed her for overcoming challenges and succeeding in an international environment. Weekly progress reports provided to her laboratory classmates, more focused classes than in Indonesia, and encouragement from her advisor to attend international academic gatherings are among the factors that have changed her.
Niken says that another important lesson has been learning to persevere.
“Here the students never give up so I never give up.”
Niken says that over a mere year or two she has seen major strides in internationalization at TUS. Her laboratory now operates in English environment and there are noticeably more foreign students than on her first 2013 stint.
“I think that now Japanese researchers are starting to be more open to international researchers,” she says.
She will be heading back to her homeland in late 2017. And she has big plans for the future. With a father who was a university lecturer and a mother who is also a researcher, it seems that Niken has academia in her blood.
She hopes to teach at her alma mater and to build upon the international ties that she has been fortunate enough to forge at TUS, and which have made broadened her way of thinking and made her open to collaboration with researchers around the world.
About the Double Degree Program
The Double Degree Program is a collaborative framework between TUS and its academic affiliate universities to provide chances to master and doctoral students to study and work for a specified period of time so that they may receive degrees from both universities in parallel.
TUS has established these Double Degree agreements with top globally renowned universities which offer outstanding opportunities for students to enrich their education in their area of expertise or to explore other related fields.
For details, please click here.