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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From Waseda to the United States of America

Ms. Hanae Tajima
4th Year Student at the School of International Studies

Encounter with a chorus during foreign study in Canada her high school years.

Hanae believed that America was the ideal place for serious study in her major, international relations. After examining possible locations for foreign study, she selected the University of Oregon, which possesses an international relations course and several art courses. There is a reason that she selected a university with art courses. The reason is that during the year she spent in Canada as an exchange student in her 2nd year of high school, Hanae was able to make friends by participating in a chorus, even though she was not able to speak English well. In Japan, Hanae had no relation of any kind with a chorus, but she entered a chorus group in Canada in an effort to make friends. Thanks to the opportunity to perform a solo at a Christmas concert, she was able to make more friends and to blend into the local environment.

Wonderful encounters with Oregon, gospel, and Africa

At the University of Oregon, Hanae enrolled in courses with a ratio of 70% international relations courses and 30% music courses. Among these courses, she was particularly enamored with the gospel course, which she enrolled in several times continuously. "Since gospel is a music which is transferred orally, there were no cards for musical notation or lyrics. Students remembered by listening to the singing of the teacher. During the class, 2 or 3 students were selected by the teacher and asked to sing. Looking back, it was a difficult course for a foreign exchange student," reflects Hanae. It seems that friends around Hanae gradually came to respect her desperate efforts to remember the lyrics. Apparently, her classmates felt affection for Hanae, a foreigner who expressed great interest in their musical roots, and the classmates were kind enough to invite him to their homes. During her foreign study, among the variety of classes in which Hanae participated, her major of international relations coincided with courses in African folk music, and her interest in Africa grew stronger. Even returning to Japan, Hanae is active in an NGO which provides relief to starvation victims in Africa, and she continues her university studies in international cooperation with a focus on courses related to Africa.

The ability to actively understand and accept other people's opinions was gained through foreign study

Hanae felt no apprehension to the new lifestyle of living with a roommate in the communally-based atmosphere of the University of Oregon dormitory. She was able to form a friendship and spend pleasant time with her roommate. This is because Hanae realizes that each individual has their own personality, something that she learned through here dormitory lifestyle in junior high school and high school. "The true achievement of foreign study is not to learn a foreign language. Rather, it is to become able to view other people as individuals with distinct personalities, without focusing on nationality or position. When listening to someone speak, it is important to possess your own opinion and to actively understand and accept the other person's opinions. Of course, the first time I studied abroad I was struggling just to acquire the language, so studying abroad a second time allowed me to gain this insight," say Hanae with a smile.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)