Voices from Students
DIANE SHIELA C. CASTILLO (Philippines)
Diane is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) student at the Graduate School of Kuroshio Science, Kochi University of Asakura Campus. She is currently under the immediate supervision of Dr. Motoki Higa of the Department of Research and Education Natural Sciences Cluster, Science Unit. Her research focuses on the species distribution modeling of small mammalian species (rodents and bats) in the Philippines and their implications for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
Before pursuing her doctoral degree, she earned her Master of Science (MSc) in Wildlife Studies at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Diane is a faculty at Central Luzon State University (CLSU), one of the most prestigious state universities in the Philippines. She is one of the core faculty members of the Department of Environmental Science, College of Sciences, CLSU. Aside from being an educator, she is also actively engaged in various research activities that make substantial contributions toward the conservation and management of the Philippines’ wildlife. According to her, upon her return to the Philippines, she is entirely determined and ready to apply all the skills and knowledge that she will be learning from her mentor as an expert in her specific field of research; to be able to establish an optimal biodiversity monitoring and zoonotic diseases surveillance in Central Luzon, Philippines through collaborative efforts together with other experts in her and other Philippines’ institution, partnership with the national and local government organizations and linkages in Kochi University.
The first time Diane stepped into Kochi, Japan, she was enormously captivated and amazed by how nature and cities co-exist harmoniously. She said that it is good that Kochi’s environment is peaceful and convenient, which fits her personality and just exactly the way she wants a place to be as she quotes:
It takes a lot of courage to study abroad and step outside your comfort zone. The decision I made was never easy, knowing that my family and friends would be miles away from me. Still, I consider myself lucky because the people in Kochi, especially my colleagues and supervisor, helped and guided me to cope with my new environment immediately. The language barrier and cultural differences that I worried about when I first came here were made very adaptable for me by people here at Kochi. I am very fortunate that the faculty and staff of Kochi University are always ready to give me a helping hand and always provide excellent services to international students. Through their guidance, somehow, I was able to communicate freely of myself with my colleagues and the local communities of Kochi by taking the Nihongo class; it was hard, but my Sensei patiently and untiredly taught me in such a way that I would be able to catch up with all my Japanese language lessons. Certainly, it is very helpful and enjoyable! Moreover, I was able to appreciate the culture and traditions of Japan that are seen as rich preservation of good character and values that I see important to be imparted to every individual. Indeed, I can proudly say that I have chosen the right university and mentor that will help mold me into what I could and need to become professionally and as a responsible individual. As for my every accomplishment, I can genuinely say that Kochi University will always play a big part and invaluable role in my career growth and success in life. I will always be honored and thankful for giving me this rare opportunity to be mentored by globally competitive educators and assisted by warm-hearted staff at Kochi University.
All my memorable stories here at Kochi are worth telling hundreds and thousands of times.