Interview with UGAS Alumni (Mr. Mam Amnot)
As a promotion for the Iwate UGAS public relations, interviews with UGAS graduates who are active in their respective areas are posted on the homepage. As a result, students who are going to enter the doctoral courses will have an idea and inspiration before admission. The purpose of the interview is also to increase the number of students coming to Iwate UGAS.
Besides, it is expected that it will be a material for students who are currently enrolled in doctoral courses to think about their future possibilities after completion in the near future.
In the future, we will continue to find more opportunities and conduct interviews with graduates (Japanese and international students) and actively publicize them to increase the resources that make Iwate UGAS more familiar to the students.
2. Interview date and place
Date: November 13 (Wednesday) 2019, 15: 00-16: 00
Place: Iwate UGAS Graduate School Dean’s Office
3. Summary of the graduate student for interview
Name: Mam Amnot
Major (assigned): Bioproduction Sciences
(assigned to Iwate UGAS)
Year of completion: March, 2008
4). Points to discuss
- I think it’s been a long time since you came to Iwate, but please tell us about your impression of Iwate after a long time.
Iwate used to be my home. It was a quiet town and still I felt that compared to Tokyo or Sendai, it’s a nice quiet town. I feel very good to be back after 11 years. I felt quite nostalgic.
- Please tell us why you decided to study in Japan.
I always had a dream to go abroad and study. I graduated from National institute of Management in Cambodia; then applied and got a scholarship to come to Japan as a research student. Afterwards, I applied for Monbusho Scholarship and finished my Masters in Tohoku University and later on, came to Morioka and achieved my PhD. Degree from Iwate UGAS. So, I guess my dream to study abroad was the reason to come to Japan.
- Is there any reason for choosing Iwate University?
Since I did my Masters in Tohoku University under the supervision of Professor Kuita, I was tempted to do my Ph.D. in Tohoku University. I did not have much knowledge about Japan or its education system as well as the living style. I wanted to study Economics, especially on macroeconomics. I wanted to get a scholarship and study in Japan. So, I searched the internet; I tried to learn about Japanese education system and Japanese culture. While searching in the net, I found Iwate University. During my Ph.D. study I wanted to know more about the livelihood of rural farmers in Japan. I did not have much time to explore many places. So, I thought Iwate might be a better choice for me and I applied for Monbusho Scholarship under Professor Shinnosuke Tama as my major supervisor. Luckily, I received the Scholarship. When I first visited Iwate, I was very impressed about its natural beauty. I liked this place instantly and this is how I chose Iwate University.
- What kind of research were you doing during your studies?
I studied on the economic development of rural farmers in Cambodia. Analyzing the living style and economic background of Japanese farmers, I tried to implement the suitable factors to improve my country’s economic infrastructure. For this reason, I collected data in rural areas of Japan and also I had to travel to collect data in Cambodia at least twice a year.
- Which courses did you like the most?
I attended many lectures, conferences, Seminars. There were many courses on several topics. But I liked to join the conferences to get ideas and new topics to study and improve my research the most.
- What is the most memorable thing when you were a student?
I was the only Cambodian student in Iwate University during my stay. I was not good in Japanese language and did not talk to anyone except for another student from Haiti. I did not like the cold winter of Iwate as well. During my first year of study, I was very lonely, became very stressed and quite sick. I went to the University health center who recommended me a doctor and the physician recommended me to go and visit my hometown. This worked very well and after coming back to Japan from Cambodia, I enjoyed my life here. I was lucky to have a “Japanese Mother” (Okasan) who took me to many places to visit. That was a tough time for me and I think that’s the most memorable time that I remember as a student.
- What did you think of the Campus and Extracurricular activities?
I was not very social so I did not socialize with others in the campus. I did not join any circle or sports club. I needed to change; luckily, I had a Japanese mother who really helped me. With her, I went to many places, visited many people, went to the mountain, enjoyed Japanese food, culture, festivals etc.
- How did the University prepare you for your career i.e. The contribution/effect of Iwate UGAS in your career?
Everybody here at Iwate University was very helpful and cooperative. I could avail all facilities with no trouble. My supervisor even gave me a card for printing so that I could print any document for my research anytime. Due to my lack of Japanese language, it was very challenging for me to collect data, but with the help of my supervisor and others, I could finish my PhD studies and now established my career.
I believe in 3 words that contributed in my career:
Life in Iwate was very lonely in the beginning due to my lack of Japanese language.
With the help of Iwate University I got the reward of Ph.D. degree.
My educational background and my experience in Japan helped me to come to this current position. After finishing my Ph.D., I became the personal assistant of the honorable Prime Minister of Cambodia, and in 2013 the Prime Minister of Cambodia gave me the honor to become the “Secretary of State”, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries.
- Please let us know if there is a request to Iwate University, such as wishing to have this while studying.
During my stay, I used to go to the Library at Iwate University a lot. But I felt a lack of English books there. I think the University should have more English books in all fields and also make arrangement for translated copies of important Japanese Books in Agriculture major.
The foreign students do not get much time to learn Japanese language along with their research. If there are more facilities so that the foreign students can communicate well in English, it will be very helpful for them.
The University can think to broaden the perspective of learning English with compulsory curriculums. If the faculties and administrative authorities can communicate in English, it will be great. I am sure this will definitely attract more foreign students to come and study at Iwate University.
- Do you have any advice to the foreigners who are considering studying abroad in Japan?
I am proud of Iwate UGAS. I recommend this University to all foreign students. The university has most of the facilities. I think if the students prepare themselves before coming to Japan it will be very helpful for them. I would suggest them to learn a little Japanese language before coming so that they can communicate well during their studies.
- Please tell us about your current work in Cambodia.
Currently I am the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries. I focus on improving the land area of Cambodia, improve the households, tackle the climate change calamities and try to support the farmers. I have 3 main motives; 1) Attending various job related meetings, conferences, 2) Meet people in the rural areas, listen and talk to them face to face, and 3) Come abroad; collaborating with international organizations like Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), World Food Association (WFA) etc. to avail ideas for developmental implementation in my country.
My boss always said “Try not to have Six legs in Office” meaning that you should not always sit on your desk but move around and do your job. I believe in these words and try to work hard.
- How did you get your current job?
After finishing my PhD. I went back to my country; my dream came true. The Prime Minister of Cambodia offered me a position as his personal assistant, and gradually in 2013, I became the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries.
- Please tell us about your future goals. Also, if you have any advice for Iwate UGAS students, please share them with us.
I have 2 sons who are 9 years old and are twins. My future goal is to make my sons “Better than Me”. I want to make a good platform for them, for the next generation and thus make a better future for them