REPORT ON MY STUDY AT TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES
I wish to begin this report by expressing my esteemed gratitude to all the hands and minds that were involved in the making of this opportunity of a lifetime. The hard work and efforts that were put into this has not been in vain, as it has been the happening that has impacted my life considerably. Again, I wish to assure that if the intention of instituting such a program was to impact change, educate and enlighten its beneficiaries or create an avenue for participants to develop their capacities, then be very assured that the program did nothing short of that.
The 1st of April was the day I arrived in Japan, eager to have a feel of the most fascinating culture I have ever come across. Now I write this with a sense of pride and joy, in that, to some extent, I have been able to gather most of the what Japan has to offer in the limited time as three months. It has to be said that, this chance to study abroad for me is an experience unlike any other. This is because I have come to understand much more both academically and socially than I ever have. I have made new friends from various parts of the world, all thanks to this program.
The courses I enrolled in here at TUFS have broadened my understanding of the academic circle more than I can express. In sum, I took six courses Topics in Global Issues, Topics in Introduction to Statistic for Social Sciences, Topics in City and Narrative: Film, Survey of International Development, Topics in International Relations and Elementary Japanese Language Studies. The abovementioned courses amount to 17 hours (10 classes per week) including Japanese Language Studies. I say with pride that, before I arrived in Japan, all I understood in Japanese was "konnichiwa", "hai" and "iie", however, through the Integrated Japanese 101a, now I am able to make daily life conversations, read and understand some basic compositions as well as being able to read and write about 150 kanjis. More so, courses like Topics in city and Narrative: Film and Global Issues has taught me numerous academic analytical skills that will prove worthy both in my final project writing as an undergraduate and also in my future studies. Most especially, Topics in International Relations bought a new dimension to my understanding of the international system. Through the opinions and experiences of the authorities and field workers we interviewed via skype, I am spurred to continue with the studying of international relations. These encounters add to the motivations that gingers me to become a diplomat and an individual who wants to dedicate his life to the service of my nation and mankind as whole.
Being in Japan did not only mean that I learn about the Japanese culture alone, I also expanded my understanding of the African continent from the seminars organized by the African Studies Centre On 11 April, 2018, I attended a lecture presented by Dr Alex de Waal on the history and the current situations of multilateralism in Africa. The lecture informed me of the Pan African Movement and their role in the decolonization of the African continent. Also, it presented the challenges facing the continent after independence as well suggesting viable solutions for the forging of a better future. In addition to these, on 20th of the same month, I took part in the 13th seminar of the African Studies Centre which was titled, South Korea-Africa Encounter via Culture and Arts: The Case of Seoul African Festival. This was a talk presented by Dr Ohsoon Yun, currently the Executive Director of the Seoul African Festival. This talk expressed the efforts of the organizers in propagating the truth narrative of African to Koreans, Asians and every individual who has interest in knowing about the African culture. More so, on June 13, 2018, I was present at the "ASC-TIAS Seminar" which presented on the achievements and challenges of Olympics and Paralympic in African countries. This was joint seminar with Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies.
I took part in extracurricular activities with the mind of improving both my study of Japanese language and culture. I joined the TUFS Aikido Club from which I have learnt a lot. With the Aikido club, I had the opportunity to attend the 56th All Japan Aikido Demonstration which was held on the 30th of April. Through the activities of the Aikido club, I have been able to develop some valuable though basic life principles like punctuality, confidence and respect for both authority and peers. I have also been exposed to other cultures than the Japanese culture as the club students from Russia, Mexico and Spain. I made new friends and enjoyed exercising while reducing stress. I felt privileged to have been a part of such an amazing community of people who are dedicated to improving themselves.
I also used the avenue provided by the Musashino International Association (MIA) where international students can have host families. The family MIA assigned me to have been of great help to me and my daily living in Japan. I spent every weekend with the Hasebe Family from 29th of April to the 17th of July. Every weekend they took me sightseeing in and around Tokyo. They made my life here most enjoyable and I really appreciate their efforts. More so, on the 16th of June, I volunteered for MIA's Musashino Family Exchange Party. Through this volunteering, I learnt more about Japanese calligraphy and also origami making.
Finally, from 6th to 8th July 2018, I attended the 26th "Day of the African child" in Kumamoto. This three-day celebration saw the gathering of African students studying in Japan, the Ambassador of Mali, Mrs. Aya Thiam Diallo, some Africans living in Japan, Japanese high school students in Kumamoto and some Japanese citizens interested in African affairs. The agenda that was under discussion for this year's celebration centered on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on the Right of the Child. I took part in the discussion on the state agriculture in the world and the similarities that can be found in agricultural production in both Japan and Africa, challenges and solutions. What I enjoyed most and found fascinating from this engagement is the energy and dedication that the Japanese use in their efforts to build better relations with Africans.
In sum, this experience is one of the most eventful, amazing and educational parts of my life. Without a doubt, I can say that I now have a comprehensive understanding of my field of study, I have acquired a new language and made life-long friends from different countries and backgrounds who have shaped my knowledge of life. I am most grateful for taking part in this exchange program and I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to TOYOTA GHANA Company Limited, the African Studies Centre (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), the International Programmes Office of University of Ghana, JICA and Student Exchange Division (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) for the daily support and assistance they provided during my exchange period. I really appreciate their assistance and kindness.
Charles Acheampong Agyebeng.