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 Back to SummaryMyles Lam - Student Advisor Profile

photo of Myles Lam
Stanford in Kyoto, Spring and Summer 2007-08
MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

ACADEMIC INTERESTS: Vehicle design, Asian American issues, computers and technology.

INTERNSHIP: Create Center at Osaka Sangyo University

Before participating in the Kyoto-SCTI program, I had been to Japan three summers already, studied the Japanese language for many years, and had some friends and contacts in Japan. So I thought, going there again in the Kyoto-SCTI program didn’t seem too radical of an idea. But I was very wrong. Spending five months abroad proved to be a new experience that showed me fresh perspectives of the Japanese family and student life. And it certainly changed my view of Japan.

There’s something about living in a country for an extended period of time that almost naturally educates you about its cultural values and mindset, and that was something I wanted to acquire in Japan.

I wanted to go to Japan to solidify my Japanese conversation skills and work towards my ME major at the same time. There’s something about living in a country for an extended period of time that almost naturally educates you about its cultural values and mindset, and that was something I wanted to acquire in Japan. In addition, since I love Japanese food, people, and the culture, attending school in that environment, I thought, would be perfect for me. At the same time, I wanted to work at a company in the summer that would help me to reach my goal of working for Honda after I graduate from Stanford.

With these solid goals in mind, I chose to pursue the Kyoto-SCTI program and quickly applied during my freshman year to go during my sophomore year (the application is one year in advance). It was a smart choice, because the relevant engineering courses were geared towards sophomores. And I had many friends going there at the same time. Everything seemed perfect. But nothing could prepare me for the hospitality and kindness that everybody seemed to provide.

The Stanford staff at Doshisha University were amazing and helpful. They gave me advice on my finances, and helped us all get cell phones and open bank

My homestay family was very kind, and although I lived about an hour by train from the university, they made me feel at home. If you’re worried about your homestay experience – don’t!

accounts, which aren’t easy things to do in Japan if you’re a foreigner! I think my classes were also great. One in particular, “Scenes in and Around the Capitol,” was an exciting field-trip based history class that gave us opportunities to travel to landmark sites around Kyoto and see the transformation of the city from its golden age to its current state in person. That was the most fun I’ve had in a class in a while.

My homestay family was very kind, and although I lived about an hour by train from the university, they made me feel at home. If you’re worried about your homestay experience – don’t! With my family, I played Wii Fit before it debuted in the US, they hosted a BBQ party for me and my friends, and they wouldn’t let me do any of the cleaning, cooking, or washing at home. I felt like a baby again, honestly, and in a good way. It’s that family atmosphere that I haven’t felt at my real home for a long time that really led me to enjoy my Japanese homestay experience.

Even if you think you know a lot about Japan, this program will teach you even more about the country, its people, the language, and the culture.

My internship only added to my wonderful experience in Japan, primarily because I was able to find an internship that dealt with vehicle design. I’ve loved cars since I was a kid, and I knew that I wanted to be a vehicle designer since I was 10, so actually building one in Japan was like a dream come true. I worked with staff and students at Osaka Sangyo University to construct a carbon-fiber, single-seater, aerodynamic electric racecar over the summer in Japan, and I even raced it against another similar car on an airport runway loop for one hour and won! It’s that feeling of designing, building, and racing a car that made the whole experience worth it. I think my internship was the best part of my experience in Japan, and I encourage anybody considering the Kyoto-SCTI program to go for the internship. I had an amazing time.

What I learned from this program is quite simple. Even if you think you know a lot about Japan, this program will teach you even more about the country, its people, the language, and the culture. There’s always more to learn, and what better way to learn about a country than to live in it? And don’t feel afraid to take risks and try new experiences, because you might just run into something that will make your experience more wonderful than you ever thought it could be.

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