Alumnus Interview: Tomoki Kitazumi 1999-2002

May 16, 2024

Photo: Tomoki poses for a photo with Mr. Agardy—now retired—during a visit in May of 2022. Mr. Agardy was a major influence on the direction of Tomoki’s university studies. 

Tomoki Kitazumi came to AIS-Salzburg from Japan in 1999 as a 10th-grade student and graduated in the spring of 2022. Since graduating, Tomoki has been studying and living in Berlin, Germany. Today, Tomoki’s name is preceded by “Dr.” and in 2023 he received a prize for his PhD thesis. We invite you to read the interview below and learn more about Tomoki’s time at AIS-Salzburg and accomplishments thereafter. 

What is/are your fondest memory or memories of attending AIS-Salzburg?

Tomoki: I enjoyed the regular daily conversations and interactions with people in the dining room that didn’t have any specific purpose (which no longer exists to my knowledge).

What did you enjoy about going to such a small high school?

Tomoki: I enjoyed the fact that I practically knew everyone, and no one was extraneous. 

Photos: (Above) Tomoki with friends Leonid and Puk at the 2000 AIS-Salzburg Summer School. (Below)Tomoki, third from left, with fellow students during an excursion to Italy in the spring of 2002. 

What have you done academically and professionally since graduating from AIS-Salzburg?

Tomoki: I proceeded to the world of academics: I studied at the Freie Universität Berlin and earned a PhD from this university. My majors were in the history of the Ancient Near East and comparative linguistics.  I’m still at the same university, working as a research associate.

Those who are interested can find more information about Tomoki’s work at the university via the links below:

Photo: Tomoki at an archaeological site in Turkey (Sept. 2023).

What aspects of your education at AIS-Salzburg best assisted you in further academics, your professional life, and life in general?

Tomoki: When I was at the AIS-Salzburg, there was still the IB program which emphasized a wide range of knowledge. I learned throughout my academic career and in life, that this principle is important as you never know when you need certain knowledge. Therefore, it simply helps to know how to use and apply the knowledge you acquired, and the more knowledge the better.

Are there any personal accomplishments since graduating that you want to share?

Tomoki: Yes, in 2023 I was awarded the “best dissertation prize” for my PhD-thesis (how scribes in the Hittite empire approached translation).

We invite you to read this article on Tomoki’s award-winning dissertation or listen to this podcast interview on Spotify where he speaks about his work (7:31-16:20)

Do you have any advice for students at AIS-Salzburg or applicants to the school?

Tomoki: Find what you like and follow it as much as you can (I do not like to say “follow your dream” since it sounds too abstract with “dream”). If you don’t have one, you can try and find it by simply trying or learning a lot of new things which you have never done before.