Global Students and Faculty

Expanding Potential: curiosity
Hajime Akiyama, College of Liberal Arts, junior (at the time of interview)

Major in Peace Studies and International Relations

Acquiring Skills to Make Contributions to Society

"Studying in English," not "studying English" 

When I was deciding which university to enter, the first thing that ICU attracted me was the idea of education where you don't "study English" but rather you "study in English." I was interested in the culture of the English-speaking countries since I was a little and wanted to be more than just a person who could speak English; I wanted to be someone who could create something by using English. The other thing that made me decide to study at ICU was "Later Specialization," that is, the chance to study a broad range of subjects without declaring your major until the end of your second year. At the time I wanted to major in International Relations or Gender and Sexuality Studies, a major only found at ICU, but I wasn't able to pick just one so the system of education was perfect for me in that I could study while continuing to think about my choice of major.

ICU's English language education: expanding your interest in learning 

A lot of people know how demanding ICU's English language education is, but it was due to the English Language Program (now the English for Liberal Arts Program) that I became able to write academic papers in English. When I entered ICU I was placed in classes for the lowest level of English proficiency. My class "Academic Reading and Writing" met three periods each week and in each class we were given ten-page academic papers to read for homework. At first, no matter how much time I spent on the homework it was never enough and it was extremely difficult to keep up with the class. Then, over time, I stopped reading each individual word and became able to see the overall meaning of the papers. As the class progressed I found I was able to complete the class work more quickly.

In "Reading and Content Analysis" I learned how to read texts more closely and improved my reading comprehension. In the whole program students are not asked simply to "write something", but rather they are always asked to achieve a sense of logic in their writing, for example being asked to " find academic materials first, organize your ideas and then do your writing." It took me a long time of writing short essays before I got used to the English style of composition in which a writer's conclusion is stated at the beginning of the paper.

Both classes were extremely difficult but, I always had a sense of fulfillment. They were different from English classes in high school that focus on grammar. We read papers on topics I was interested in like "the value of education," "racial discrimination" and "human security." And since we had discussions, which the professor joins as well, the class was even more interesting.

Furthering studies for the world's voiceless voice

I'm double majoring in Peace Studies and International Relations. In my first year I took Professor Wilhelm Vosse's class "Japan's International Relations," where I learned about the cooperative relationships countries have with one another and became even more interested in how culture can lead different governments into complex interconnections.

In the summer of my second year I took part in the "Global Seminar" organized by the United Nations University, which also became an important experience for me. The participants to the seminar came from various backgrounds: undergraduates, graduate students, Japanese students, overseas students, and so on. We attended lectures on how to deal with humanitarian crises and discussed the topics with one another. It was in the discussions that I got a palpable sense of how our different backgrounds makes our different perspectives and ways of approaching the issues. I learned that in order to change reality, we need not only critique but also concrete measures to effect change. It was through this that I keenly felt the need to further my studies.

I would like to continue furthering my study at ICU Graduate School and am considering applying for the 5-year Program, which enables me to complete both Bachelor's and Master's degree within five year after the entrance of the college at ICU after graduation. After that I want to put my skills to use at an international organization in order to work for voiceless voice.

Studying at ICU makes it possible to expand your interest. But expanding interest isn't the goal of study. I didn't realize it when I entered ICU, but the university was founded through the donations of many people in the US and Japan who sought peace after the Second World War. For me, ICU students are responsible to the people who donated to make the school possible and to give something back to society.

I hope you will consider studying at ICU and acquire the basic skills necessary to contribute to society.