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Please give a short introduction about yourself.
I was born in a small city called Dehradun located in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. I studied and grew up in various cities in India, and graduated from Ahlcon International School in Delhi, India. Upon graduation, I chose Kyushu University, Japan to pursue my bachelor’s in the field of Mechanical Engineering as a Japanese Government Scholar. While at Kyushu University, I was a member of the Hydrogen Utilization Processes Lab, volunteered at a retirement community, was the assistant secretary for the foreign students association, worked as a product development intern at Edanz Group Japan, and as a project management intern at CAIRN Energy India.
Having graduated in 2014, I chose to pursue my master’s at Tsinghua University, China as a Chinese Government Scholar. I worked as a student researcher in the University’s energy policy and management lab. While at Tsinghua University, I worked on a project sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, China, was a volunteer at a student organization aimed at providing sustainability solutions to rural China, and was an Energy and Built Environment intern at the Clinton Global Initiative, New York, USA. During the course of my studies at Japan and China, I have also published a paper in an international journal and presented my research (oral presentation) at the International Exhibition and Conference on Clean Energy, Canada- 2016.

Please give a simple description of your work at your workplace.
While in Japan, I was a member of the Hydrogen Utilization Processes Lab from April 2013 to September 2014. While at the university, I researched hydrogen utilization technologies related to fuel cells. Specifically, I looked into studying and understanding poisoning mechanisms affecting Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (Lanthanum Strontium Manganite (LSM)) cathodes. (SOFCs are high-efficiency, high-temperature fuel cells)
I was also a member of the team that represented Kyushu University at the Hydrogen Contest organized by the Department of Energy, USA. We drafted a proposal for setting up a Drop-in hydrogen fueling station in the state of Texas, USA. Working with researchers and experts from all over, helped me gain knowledge and perspective on the subject which an undergraduate student can only hope to gain elsewhere.

What attracted you to choose Kyushu University as a place to pursue such an offbeat and unconventional  career?
As you may imagine, I did not have much idea about the university or, Japan in general. I first heard about the university at a Japan education fair which was held in Delhi. I learned about the facilities, research, and opportunities available at the university and was excited to learn about the same. The hydrogen energy research being carried out at the university was the main factor that attracted me to pursue my undergraduate at Kyushu University. I was able to fund my studies by the Japanese Government Scholarship and that was also a key factor.

How do you like life in Japan and Japanese culture?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Japan. Fukuoka proved to be a nice change of pace compared to the hustle and bustle of Delhi. A calm
and serene environment proved to be beneficial as a place to study in. Japan has a truly colorful and rich culture, getting to experience
tea ceremonies, cherry blossom festivals, beautiful castles and so on, first-hand, is truly surreal. Finer things in Japan can prove to be
expensive at times, however, I have found that the simplest things are the most beautiful.

Please give a message to students or researchers in your home country who may be contemplating studying in Japan?
I realize that there is a certain fear of the unknown with Japan. You may be skeptical of the food, the culture, etc. However, based on my experience, I can say with utmost confidence that there is nothing to fear. In the city of Fukuoka, there were supermarkets at every corner, within the radius of about a kilometer, you could find 3-4 Indian restaurants. The people are extremely considerate and they try to help you as much as they can. The research and facilities are above and beyond one can imagine, and the opportunity to work with experts from all around the globe is truly amazing. If you chose to study in Japan, I can say with utmost certainty that you would not regret your decision.