Responding with sincere feelings
ORSO: Overseas Researchers Support Office
At iCeMS, English is the official language, and about 20 % of the researchers come from abroad. However, once these members take one step out of the building, they enter another land. People coming to Japan for the first time often encounter cultural differences and language barriers. Even given cutting-edge research facilities, they cannot concentrate on research without first having a stable living environment. One of iCeMS’ major tasks is to maintain an environment where international researchers can feel relaxed and can concentrate. To this end, the ORSO is advancing efforts that are gradually spreading within Kyoto University. Kazumi Arimoto, who has worked for 7 years at iCeMS, talked to us about her job.
The range of support is infinite
For researchers coming to Japan, the first necessity is to obtain the status of residence. We coordinate with each department to examine and support the necessary preparations. In addition to such administrative procedures, it is also important that we respond to researchers’ requests for consultation. Since the consultation can cover many aspects of life in Japan, the broad scope of this work cannot be easily summarized. In addition, we often receive unexpected consultation requests. For example, a researcher with an elementary school-aged child once asked, "I’d like you to tell me how to do the threadworm inspection." In his home country, there was no "threadworm inspection". At that time, I tried using an image of the procedure in English, and I remember struggling to pick the right words to explain. In this kind of situation, I first try to understand the matter well in Japanese myself and think about the best English words to explain with.
Responding with sincere feelings
Most people who come here to consult feel uneasy, so I take an affirmative approach, saying “Don’t hesitate to ask for my help!" Sometimes we may get requests that we cannot solve directly, such as dealing with inadequate administrative procedures. Saying, "I do not know," will not solve such problems. We empathize with the request and try our best to affirm where the problem is and what should be done.
In any job, I think trust and sincerity are important for the relationships between people. If one party does not trust the other, then the message will not be communicated effectively. Whether a young researcher or a researcher already in an established position, my approach doesn’t change. I try to respond to everyone in the same way.
Obtaining a status of residence
・Serve as a proxy applicant to receive a Certificate of Eligibility needed for visa acquisition ・Help with the renewal or changes of residency status To work and live in Japan, overseas workers must obtain a status of residence in advance of their coming to Japan. Support for obtaining this is the most important part of the job.
Searching for housing
・Introduce university accommodation facilities ・Provide information about real estate agents who provide service in different languages Provide residential information helpful for finding accommodation
・Confirm the necessary documents when overseas workers come to the university ・Support for opening a bank account ・Help with resident registration
General matters for living in Japan
・Introduce hospitals who provide service in English ・Provide information on childcare, schools, and procedures ・Support for obtaining mobile phones and credit cards ・Provide information about Japanese language classes ・Explain administrative procedures related to childbirth In addition to the above, the ORSO responds to general requests about living in Japan and may accompany researchers to appointments, depending on the circumstances.
Cooperation: Kyoto Tsushinsha Press
*This article was originally published in the newsletter “iCeMS Our World Your Future vol.7”. All the information on this page, including the affiliation, is current at the time of publication.