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Ichihashi from Japan-2016 admission

市橋さん顔写真I had been studying at the University of Texas at Austin for 10 months, and it was one of the best experiences in my life!

I appreciate all my friends and ICP members for this wonderful opportunity. I liked the international environment of ICP; my daily interactions with my international friends and professors helped me develop my English skill and piqued my interest in international cultures. But as a Japanese myself, I wanted to fully immerse myself in a different culture to get the full international experience, just like my international ICP friends did when they came to Japan. That’s why I decided to study in the US.

The University of Texas is in the southern US, so it had people of all sorts of backgrounds. During my time there, I talked to such people about academics, sports, life, societies, foods and so on. I believe these experiences will give me a hint in every stage of my life from now on.

Another impact of my stay at Texas is that I developed the better studying habits. You will say I do not have to go abroad to make the studying habits, but the atmosphere there is generally more competitive than in Kyoto University; everyone is aiming for A. Well, it may be a bit boring to see people competing toward a single common goal, but I think it is important to do your best sometimes, so I decided to take advantage of this atmosphere and work hard for at least one semester. Then, I realized getting A’s for all the classes is way harder than I thought. I had to study hard and efficiently. As a student who experienced both Japanese and American student lives, I think both being stuck behind a desk like US students and gazing vacantly at the Kamogawa (river in Kyoto) and thinking deeply like Kyoto students; are important. ICP is actually somewhere between them.

Moreover, let me say something weird, “I became free by living abroad.” As I experience different cultures, I noticed that the norms and systems I have in my culture are just one of many options. In other words, I realized that cultures and values are relative. Once you realize this, you can get rid of the barriers of common sense and think about everything by yourself. As a simple example, if you think that it is natural to eat dinner at 7 o'clock, you will not even consider changing it, but if you think of it as one of many options, you can think of changing it to 6. When the “common sense” disappears, you can see everything from your own point of view. As thinking becomes free in this way, I became able to create my own value and axis.

Lastly, in terms of testing myself, I faced challenges in living in a new city and meeting new people, but every day was an adventure and full of discoveries. My brain was often overwhelmed by the amount of new information, but now I feel like I can settle in anywhere on the planet. I got so many memories and connections in Austin that I felt like I was leaving my hometown when boarding to the plane back to Japan.

Let me finish this with my professor’s words:

Passport, 5,000 yen. A new winter jacket, 10,000 yen. Studying abroad ... priceless!!!

There are things money cannot buy ... international experience is one of them ...

For everything else, there’s credit card ...

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