Whether I was able to conduct my research according to my plan:

Throughout the duration of the program, I was able to travel extensively, conduct field work and several interviews, and analyze Japanese data. While this was all part of the plan, I was surprised by how much I was able to do in such a short period of time, largely thanks to the great hospitality and generosity of my host professor and his students, which was really a key to the whole experience. We also managed to write a conference paper together, which was not really part of the original plan. Overall, things went according to plan, but a little better.

Accomplishments and experiences I would never have gotten unless I joined the Summer Program:

I was able to work with a well-respected authority in my field and establish collaboration with him and his students. This also allowed me to make several important connections with other excellent researchers whom I would otherwise never have met. The amount of travel that I was able to do, and how much I was able to see in both a professional and personal capacity, would never have been possible without the Summer Program, and I would never have had such an introduction to Japan and its culture. It was also one of the best summers of my life.

How do I make good use of this experience in my future research:

The data I was able to collect provides material for several papers. Even more importantly, the collaboration I established with the host researcher and his students will continue: we have already submitted one paper together, another one on the way, and ideas for more. I also met key figures in both research and industry, which will be very valuable for my future career, both in enabling a return to Japan, and in opening doors to other international research and career opportunities. Finally, I hope to return to Japan soon to keep the connections alive, and to start some joint projects.

Message for future participants:

(i) Try to meet and get to know the host researcher before you leave, as a close relationship with his/her opens so many doors. (ii) Try to have an idea of what you will do and to have data to work with right away, because once in Japan, it’s going to be intense in a lot of ways. (iii) Get and use a JR pass. It’s amazing. (iv) Don’t be afraid to take some time off to travel and experience things, which is a part of the point. (v) Just go for it, and it’s going to be a blast and you won’t regret it.

Name: Carl-William Palmqvist

Title: PhD-student

Institution: Lund University

Host Institution in Japan: Chiba Institute of Technology