Dean and of College of International Relations had a roundtable discussion about the reason they chose the college, its strengths, their studies and extracurricular activities.
Professor Kimijima: Thank you very much for coming today. My name is Akihiko Kimijima, and I am Dean of the College of International Relations (IR). We are very glad to have you as students here. Could you tell me what brought you to our college? And could you tell me a little about yourselves?
Juliane: My name is Juliane Barakat, and I am a fourth-year student majoring in Global Studies (GS). I am of Egyptian nationality, but was born in the UAE. I chose College of IR is because I wanted to enhance my Japanese and English language skills at the same time. I also had a dream to study in a very diverse environment where I could interact with people from different backgrounds, and learn a lot by being surrounded by them. In addition, I chose this college because I am interested in politics, the world, policies, and cultures as well as how society works.
Professor Kimijima: So you had an interest in Japan before coming here?
Juliane: Yes, I always had an interest in Japan, because I had 11 years of Japanese education in my country.
Professor Kimijima: Really? Tell me more.
Juliane: My father graduated from Cairo University in Egypt with a major in Japanese literature, and then he moved to Japan and worked here for six years. He wanted to instill a love of Japanese culture and language in his children, so he encouraged us to learn these things.
Professor Kimijima: OK, that’s an interesting story. How about you, Lin?
Lin Tzu-Cheng: I’m Lin Tzu-Cheng from Taiwan, and I am a second-year student majoring in GS. I chose Japan and the College of IR to learn about Taiwan from an outside perspective. Together with the United States, Japan is the country with the best understanding of Taiwan. Learning about Taiwan in Japan helps me to objectively see the position of Taiwan in the international community. Furthermore, Ritsumeikan University provides a lot of support for international students, so I had nothing to worry about prior to starting my life in Japan. Compared to other universities in Tokyo that I applied to, our college provides students with a clear path for studying international relations through the liberal arts.
Another reason is that I wanted to learn English and Japanese at the same time. Some people say that learning two languages at once is hard, but I am trying my best here, using English on campus and Japanese outside the campus. I am also interested in politics because of the Sunflower Student Movement that came to a head in 2014 in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, which is similar to a parliament. At that time, I lived pretty close by and passed through that area almost every day. I realized for the first time that governments could use their power to do something legal but unreasonable. That event sparked my interest in politics, and started to think about what I could do for my country. Studying hard and broadening my horizons are things I can do now, so I would like to be prepared to contribute to my country in the future.