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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -


Mayuko Sumiyoshi
4th-Year Student at School of Human Sciences

Learning to recognize and accept diversity

I studied abroad at Earlham College, a small university located in Indiana, U.S.A. Students from all over the world study at Earlham College, creating a rich international flavor. It is a residential college with nearly all students living in campus housing.

In this close communal lifestyle, it sometimes feels as if students have become family. For this very reason, differences in culture and values were a major barrier to me. There were so many things that I couldn’t understand. I met students who were constantly talking, who went to bed with their shoes on, and who put on a good act in front of their parents when compared to being around other people. I felt as if what I had been taught in Japan and what I had valued were being denied.

Even so, other students weren’t denying my values or acting maliciously. They had been raised in different countries with unique cultures and feelings. It is only natural that they acted differently. I learned this in classes where I saw students respecting each other’s different ways of thinking. Of course, there were some clashes between individuals. However, in general, there was an atmosphere of recognizing and accepting diversity. Instead of attempting to reconcile differences, accepting differences enables students to interact naturally with each other. I hope that this point can be incorporated into our Japanese culture where peace of mind is realized through group behavior.

Through long-term foreign study in which “the unusual becomes an everyday affair,” I learned firsthand what I was lacking as a person and was able to seriously reflect on my own insufficiencies. As a result, I reconfirmed the wonderful aspects of Japanese culture which do not exist in any other country, while also discovering the appeal of foreign culture from which we can learn.

Together with members of “New Measures,” a cappella singing group which I joined. This photograph was taken at a concert in which members dressed in an embarrassing fashion…but I didn’t have the courage to try!

Student orchestra performing together with piano at an off-campus location.