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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From Waseda to Brazil

Ms. Shiho Suzuki
3rd Year Student in the Master's Program at the Graduate School of Social Sciences

To a land of memories

When Ms. Suzuki was 17, she spent 1 year as a foreign exchange student in Brazil as a student in the Rotary Youth Exchange. Ms. Suzuki decided to participate in the program based on her simple desire to see a world which was completely unfamiliar and new. Ms. Suzuki has been unable to forget the encounters and experiences which she had during her time as an exchange student in Brazil, and 7 years later, in 2008, she studied abroad as an exchange student at The University of S達o Paulo. "The experiences that I had as a child may be at the root of my interest in foreign study and research," says Ms. Suzuki. While at studying at The University of S達o Paulo, Ms. Suzuki focused on performing surveys for her research theme of "employment problems in Brazil".

Experiencing the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigrants

It is said that over 1.5 million people of Japanese descent currently reside in Brazil. Ms. Suzuki kept busy during her stay in Brazil, participating as an interpreter in a number of events related to the 100th Anniversary of Japanese Immigration. "The Waseda University Baseball Team was invited to stay in Brazil, and it was a particularly memorable experience for me to accompany the team as an interpreter. Waseda took part in a group tournament with a Brazilian team and Keio University, and games were held in various locations in Brazil. The stadiums were packed with Brazilians who came from throughout the country to see the games, and the games overflowed with excitement! It was a thrilling experience." Ms. Suzuki also accompanied the Glee Club during performances in Ribeir達o Preto, S達o Paulo, and she made great efforts to work out onsite details. "The baseball and songs of Waseda students like me moved the hearts of Brazilians who speak a different language. The scene which I saw at that is the driving force in my activities now. I am very happy that I was able to meet such students in Brazil."

Reflecting on life in Brazil

"Brazil has the so-called "Latin" vibe. Everyone is very cheerful and energetic, and I have danced all night at clubs with people of all generations. Perhaps this energy is supplied by the meat and soft drinks which are at the core of the Brazilian diet! Also, Brazilians consider it very important to enjoy life as much as possible and to laugh as much as possible. Therefore, in the Brazilian lifestyle, it is very important who you are together with and spend time with."

"If you can't decide whether or not to study abroad, you should go!"-That is Ms. Suzuki's advice for younger students. "In Brazil, people will treat you kindly just because you are Japanese. I'm truly grateful for the trust which Japanese immigrants have built over the past 100 years. But when you go abroad, you must be careful and not try to do too much." Ms. Suzuki also offers the following reflections upon studying abroad: "Until now, I focused on overseas. However, in the future, I want to work to improve the employment and social welfare of Brazilians living in Japan and in my home prefecture of Shizuoka." Foreign study is an impetus for examining not only overseas conditions, but also for considering matters with Japan itself.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)