First of all, I was stunned by all ASJA students’ intelligence and ability to lead the group discussion. Although I had classes with international students at my university, I had less opportunity to work on something together or complete a project as a team. My group’s ASJA students were all brilliant but I was also inspired by others’ presentations. This made me motivated to study much harder not only subjects of my major but also more about ASEAN countries. I really enjoyed learning about each country’s culture, differences/similarities and uniqueness including food, traditional rituals, diverse way of thinking, etc. All the encounter I had led me to broaden my view and expanded my friendship throughout Asia.
I am grateful that I am still keeping in touch with lots of friends I met at the workshop. This year I got a chance to participate in a program for young leaders in Asia to come up with holistic solutions towards climate change. My group happened to set a target in Indonesia and I was able to contact my ASJA friends and gained lots of insight from them. With my ASJA friends, not only do I talk with them about issues/measures in Asia but also talk about fun stuff. When they go back to their countries, they let me know and keep me updated about their lives in their home countries through messages/photos/videos. I hoped to have a long-lasting friendship with those I met, and am so happy that it is happening after four years since the workshop. It is a true joy, and I am glad that we keep inspiring one another and learn together.
I think generosity and mindset to accept people with different background would contribute greatly to the globalization in Japan. Japanese society is extremely aging and we are getting supported by lots of workers and students from the abroad. It is inevitable to welcome people from outside of Japan to sustain our country so accepting the difference and welcoming them in Japanese society is what is needed. I believe everyone who joined the workshop is already equipped with this mindset and they will be the leader of the next era who live in this society. What I found from the workshop is “difference is fun, and there are more similarities than differences.” I hope to maintain my friendship with those I met at the workshop and keep thinking to come up with ways to create better society in Japan and Asia together.