In my columns this semester, I am going to write about exchange students’ experiences here at Tufts. I hope you will enjoy it and take an interest in Tufts’ exchange programs. In addition, I would like you to know what kind of support and opportunities exchange students seek to make their experiences here better, as well as to make a more positive impact as members of the Tufts community.
Today, for my first piece, I am going to introduce myself and give some general information about exchange students at Tufts.
I am an exchange student from Japan. I am 21 years old this year. I was born and raised in a beautiful countryside city of Japan called Iida, located in Nagano Prefecture. Iida is surrounded by mountains and not by the ocean, but it has very little light pollution, so its night skies are notably starry. However, Iida city does not get many visitors from foreign countries.
Inspired by my high school English teacher, I decided to get out of this rural environment and enroll in Kanazawa University in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, well-known for its fulfilling exchange program. The university is located on a hill just like Tufts and has affiliations with many universities around the world. At Kanazawa University, I study international relations.
Out of a variety of options available to me, I — a country boy dreaming of U.S. college life — chose Tufts for my destination to study abroad. Of course, my primary reason for coming to Tufts was to enjoy the quality international relations education for undergraduates in the best environment. After my year abroad at Tufts, I will return to complete my senior year at Kanazawa University.
About exchange students at Tufts: in the 2017–2018 academic year, Tufts received more than 20 exchange students. Most exchange students stay at Tufts for an academic year, although some exchange students have returned to their home universities after the fall semester. We come from a range of universities in different countries: Chile, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan and Spain. Given that there are more than 5,500 undergraduates (and around 11,500 students in total) at Tufts, you should feel lucky if you find one of us!
Jokes aside, since the number of exchange students is quite small, there are no clubs or organizations specifically designed for us on campus. It is such a shame, isn’t it? In order to help exchange students maximize the value of studying abroad, I want to build some organized mechanism of passing down experiences and knowledge to future exchange students. This includes asking my fellow exchange students to share their experiences, as well as Tufts students to build connections with the exchange students on campus. I envision that my column will be a bit of help in this regard. Stay tuned.