I am an exchange student from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. I am at St. Lawrence to take courses in environmental studies for a year. St. Lawrence University was my first choice because the university offers a variety of courses in this field which are not available at my university in Japan. Last summer I participated in an internship at Yellowstone National Park for two months, and worked for the resource management department, which worked on the conservation of native plants and wild animals of the park. The experience motivated me to study environmental management and politics. Another reason why I decided to come here is because I wanted to improve my English. In Japan, I studied international relations, particularly the politics of developing countries, which often required me to read a lot of documents written in English. Because of my father’s job I lived in the US for two years when I was twelve, so I knew that the best way to improve my English would be to live and study in an English speaking country. My mother tongue is Japanese and I have been studying English for three years. I also studied Spanish for about a year at the university in Japan.
St. Lawrence has been influencing me a lot. As there are many international students, I am able to experience and understand various cultures, religions, and customs through international events, such as Asian night or the Islamic celebration; such events are very difficult to find in Japan since the country is less diverse than the U.S, especially in terms of ethnic groups, religion, and culture. Moreover, as a TA for the Japanese lab, I learned that I needed to know more about my language and culture. I had taken these for granted and did not respect them much. However, teaching Japanese has made me become aware of the beauty of my language and culture. So this is also a great opportunity for me to reconsider my country.
After I finish my exchange program, I will go back to my university and write a graduation thesis in English about the environmental problems in the developing countries.