College is a time for challenging
Can decide major after enrollment
After graduating from high school, I was planning to attend college in South Korea. Since I mainly learned the sciences in high school, I was thinking of also pursuing a field in the sciences in college. However, I had questions and misgivings, such as whether it is fine to decide on a major now, even though the four years of college is a precious time for building my life's foundation; and what would I do if the field I wanted to pursue changed after enrollment? At such a time, I heard from my mother, who was working at a Japanese company at that time, about liberal arts and ICU. When I found out about liberal arts, which enables you to learn a wide range of fields, regardless of whether they are in the humanities or sciences, I thought, "This is it!" I was also attracted to ICU's international campus, and I decided to apply with the thought that I wanted to broaden my horizons.
I was able to major in physics without regret precisely because I came into contact with fields other than those in the sciences
I enrolled in ICU in September 2008. The first six months, i.e. autumn term and winter term, consisted mostly of Japanese language classes. Life back then meant homework upon returning home, and I thoroughly learned hiragana, katakana, and pronunciation.
After half a year, my Japanese gradually improved, and I was able to take courses other than language classes, such as General Education courses and Foundation courses of different majors, in Japanese. Though it was sometimes difficult to understand everything, I learned about religion, literature, law, etc. In class, students from various countries were learning together. Therefore, I was able come in contact with ways of thinking and values that were different from my own, and there were endless surprises and discoveries.
During the second year, I also became interested in international relations and environmental studies. Especially in international relations, I found it very interesting that views and interpretation of the same phenomenon are completely different depending on the country. In addition, while taking courses on physics, which I had studied since high school, I stressed about my major for the third year. After stressing, I finally decided to major in physics. I simply thought that learning physics is fun, and I also thought that the way of thinking in physics serves as the basis of principles of the natural world.
I want to come into contact with values I do not know in the place where I study abroad and further grow
After enrolling in ICU, what I first felt was that coming into contact with views that differ from your own or values that you cannot even imagine makes you grow. Each and every ICU student has various values, and student life is very stimulating. While spending time in this environment, the feeling that I wanted to come into contact with even more values grew, and during the first year, I had already decided to study abroad in the United States. The reasons why I chose the United States were: I wanted to experience the education of a country that is leading the world; and I thought that being the world's leading melting pot, it would be a place where I can have new experiences and grow.
For one year starting in the fall of 2013, I was able to study at the University of California, Berkeley through an exchange program. The biggest benefit of studying abroad was meeting with, and being stimulated by, students from around the world who were working toward their goals, such as students who had entered college at age 16 and students who had already started businesses. The one who particularly inspired me was a student from Norway, my dorm roommate with whom I spent much time. This student made me realize, for example, that my way of thinking, which I had thought was absolute, was the viewpoint of the majority and was missing the viewpoint of the minority. I was sensing my horizons broadening even through everyday conversations.
Thinking that I wanted to learn the economics and information science of the United States, which leads the world, I took such courses as economics, programming, and basic information science in addition to those for my major, physics.
I believe every course was designed to hone the "ability to have your own view regarding matters and communicate that view to others." For example, in a course held four times per week, twice were lectures and twice were discussions. You organize your thoughts based on lectures and communicate them to others. And by also listening to the views of others, you become aware of viewpoints that you are lacking. It is the same at ICU. In the midst of repeatedly doing these things and coming into contact with diverse ways of thinking, I believe I was able to objectively reexamine my thoughts and broaden my horizons.
In addition, the campus environment was wonderful. Symposia and seminars covering all fields were frequently being held, and I proactively participated in events in which I was interested, such as those on human rights, environmental issues, and nuclear issues, while thinking, "This environment is liberal arts. It is a waste to let this opportunity pass."
College is a time for challenging yourself
After graduation, I will work at a consulting company. What I felt through my student life is that only by challenging yourself to do things you have not experienced before can you make yourself grow. Although the consulting industry is a very intense world, I believe that there are many things to learn precisely because it is such an environment.
I believe that the four years of college are a time for challenging yourself to do various things and acquiring sustenance for your life. ICU provides many options, beginning with the major system and study abroad. By being proactive, countless paths will open up.
All of you, please challenge yourself to do various things at ICU and find your own path.