Student Life

San Diego often is called “America’s Finest City,” and UC San Diego is located in one of the finest spots on the Pacific Coast. Graduate students with families will find that San Diego is the perfect setting for children and partners, offering wonderful parks, zoos, amusement parks and outdoors activities. Visit the Japanese student website to learn more.

Campus itself offers state-of-the-art recreational facilities, a University Center with an array of dining and shopping options, as well as a plethora of graduate-specific programs, events and resources. GPS is proud of its balanced mix of domestic and international students from around the globe. Discover more about student life and groups at GPS.


Asameshikai is the student-run organization at GPS pertaining to all things Japan. Events include movie nights, celebrating Japanese holidays and visiting institutions or attending events in the community. Not only does the group offer opportunities for leadership and cultural exchange, it also offers a community for students interested in Japanese culture as well as a fun reprieve from a vigorous academic life. Learn more about Asameshikai and like the Asameshikai Facebook page for updates.

Student Scholars

GPS is internationally recognized for its excellence. A key reason for its growing distinction is its ability to attract the best graduate students from across the globe. Here is a sampling of recent Japan-focused student scholars and why they selected GPS:

  • Juan Pablo Feregrino, MIA ’18

    Juan Pablo Feregrino, MIA ’18

    GPS Career Track: International Management
    Prior to enrolling at GPS, Juan Pablo Feregrino worked as a sales consultant for the Latin American region at Google and Salesforce. After two years, Feregrino shares he took a calculated risk and moved to Japan to teach English as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. GPS has now allowed him to combine his international experience and focus on Japan with business level language and Japan specific classes. Feregrino plans to master the Japanese language and influence future U.S.-Japan relations.

  • Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ’18

    Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ’18

    GPS Career Track: International Politics
    Before graduating from UC San Diego with a B.A. in International Affairs in 2013, Matthew Matsuyama wrote his senior research paper about Japanese general trading companies under JFIT Director Ulrike Schaede. After a year of teaching English in rural Japan, he decided to pursue a master’s at GPS. As he noted, what impressed me most about the program was the School’s focus on the Pacific and the emphasis on developing the quantitative skills I would need for a career in policy analysis. Furthermore, my language classes are designed to prepare me for using professional Japanese. In the future, Matsuyama hopes to work as a policy analyst measuring the effects of Japanese-U.S. trade policies. Beginning in September 2016, Matsuyama began a yearlong Japanese language Boren Fellowship at Hitotsubashi University—one of Japan’s preeminent social science institutions. He returns to GPS in fall 2017.

  • Shunichi Muto, MIA ‘18

    Shunichi Muto, MIA ‘18

    GPS Career Track: International Economics
    Shunichi Muto is an MIA candidate at GPS studying international economics who’s academic goal is to understand and investigate the economic relations between Japan and the Americas. Born and raised in Japan, Muto came to the U.S. for both his undergraduate and graduate studies. He also studied Spanish for 5 years and participated in a study abroad program in Argentina where he saw a severe reality of its economy in financial crisis. Since then, Muto’s academic focus has been on how economic cooperation between states can assist in the prosperity of society. At GPS, he shares he has access to numerous stimulating courses and colleagues that focus on the Pacific region. And, wants to take advantage of this program and be an individual that can greatly contribute to the economic prosperity of Japan, U.S. and Latin America.

  • Joanna Berenice Valle Luna, MIA ‘18

    Joanna Berenice Valle Luna, MIA ‘18

    GPS Career Track: International Economics
    Joanna Valle is an MIA candidate at GPS studying international economics with a regional focus on Japan. As a federal officer working for the Mexican Ministry of Economy, specifically at the National Institute for Entrepreneurship, Valle managed nation-wide programs in Mexico to improve the business ecosystem for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). She was in charge of the emergency support programs for entrepreneurs and SMEs affected by natural disasters or violence in Mexico, and also collaborated with programs for incubating, acceleration and innovation in entrepreneurship. As a master’s student, Valle is directing her studies in economics, with a special focus on data analysis, entrepreneurship and international cooperation.

  • Philip Voris, MIA ‘18

    Philip Voris, MIA ‘18

    GPS Career Track: International Management and International Environmental Policy
    Philip Voris is an MIA candidate at GPS studying both international management and international environmental policy, with a regional focus on Japan. Prior to enrolling, his most recent work was for the city of San Francisco, facilitating training to address early psychosis in underserved communities. Voris has broad experience, spanning eight years of teaching in Japan and several years as an engineer for startups in Silicon Valley and New York City. He graduated with bachelors degrees in both mass communications and political science from UC Berkeley, across the bay from his hometown of San Mateo, California.