Global Students and Faculty

  
Expanding Potential: collaboration
Haruki Kurihara, College of Liberal Arts, senior (at the time of interview)

Major in Asian Studies major

Beyond nationality toward a common goal

I enrolled at ICU with the intention of learning about developing countries, and my major is Asian Studies. As part of the Study English Abroad (SEA) program, I went to Dublin in Ireland during the summer break when I was a freshman. Up until that point, I had never lived abroad, but participating in the SEA program gave me the confidence to live overseas, and so as a sophomore I went to Vietnam as part of the International Service Learning program. When I enrolled at ICU, I had no thoughts whatsoever about studying abroad, but I decided to take up the challenge of studying at Leeds University in England.

As part of the Service Learning program, I helped as an offce intern in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam by remitting scholarship funds from Japan to rural districts. Dealing with those matters and working together with Vietnamese teachers, I felt that I was able to blend in with the local community. Visiting rural areas and witnessing the poverty and inequality there with my own eyes came as a complete shock. And I became determined that I would make a serious effort to work toward alleviating the problems of developing countries. As a result, I decided to do a course in Asian Studies at Leeds University.

What I felt both in Vietnam and at Leeds University is that even if you are dealing with people from diffrent nationalities, everybody is able to collaborate if you have a common goal. Once you get over the language barrier, nationality no longer becomes important. Collaboration demands being able to understand the other person's point of view, but it also requires some assertiveness. After I decided to go to Vietnam I found an organization that accepted me, and I actively entered into discussions with the teachers.

It was at ICU that I came to realize the importance of being active. At this university, there are programs and opportunities that will most definitely live up to all your expectations. I would advise anyone to act positively and pursue their own course in life.