Name Hikari MASE
Faculty Science
Dormitory International Student Shared House
Period of stay April 2020 to March 2021

Why Did I Apply?

I applied for International Student Shared House because I thought I would be able to interact with international students and learn more about the English language. I believe that by interacting with people who have different backgrounds from my own, I can broaden my values, views, and perspectives. I thought that International Student Shared House where I could live with international students would be a good opportunity. Also, I don’t think language is everything in communication, but I think it is important in complex interactions where you need to communicate your thoughts and understand the other person. When I applied for this, one of my goals was to acquire “usable English”.

What I Experienced Living in International Student Shared House

What I realized when I actually lived there was how difficult it is to understand each other. I believe that everyone, not just me, lives under the unspoken assumption that people around you will be understood. These assumptions depend on the environment and culture in which each individual has been living. There were times when I, who had grown up in Japanese culture, and my share mates, who were from different countries, could not seem to get this part of the story across.
When I moved in in March, I had two share mates, one from Germany and the other from France. I was stressed out because I couldn’t communicate this “difficult to say but I want you to understand” part well. I was stressed not only because of the language but also because I did not know how to express myself in a fundamental way. My stress was also felt by the other person, and there were times when I felt awkward, though not to the point of conflict.

However, just before they left, I had a chance to take time and talk to them. Once again, I realized that the other persons’ identity was completely different from my own, and that there were many things I could learn from it. Now I feel that it is a shame that I did not try to understand the other persons and to have them understand me sooner. I also learned that “understanding” is not something that can be taken for granted, but is something that requires mutual effort.

I am currently living with a new GDP student, who moved in October. We have a very good relationship and I can’t wait to go back to the dorm every day.

Message to Applicants

If you are at all curious, just come in and experience it for yourself. You never know what kind of experience you will have. But when you are in an environment where there are people nearby who grew up in a different environment you don’t know, you can’t help but think about them. Thinking deeply about others is a process of getting to know yourself. Try to have an experience that will help you discover more about yourself and broaden your horizons.