Study abroad, extracurricular activities, clubs, volunteer work, internships – fulfilling their dreams to grow themselves as individuals. In these seven conversations, students who have challenged themselves speak about how they’ve changed and grown from enrollment to the present.
Sophia’s richness in internationalism is based on its people (Nagai)
Nagai: What we share in common, you and I, is Africa, I guess.
Wamba Yes, that’ s right. My roots are in Nigeria. There are many French-speaking countries in Africa, aren’t there?
Nagai: On the African continent, the number of people using French has been increasing in recent years. As a person who teaches French language and literature, I always hope that many students will learn about the history and culture of such regions.
Wanba: I see. I chose the Department of Global Studies because I have been interested in African development and other issues since high school. As I studied, I wanted to know more about the actual situation on the ground, so I went to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda in East Africa for two months on a scholarship.
Nagai: So, you must have encountered and learned much in Africa.
Wanba: In Uganda, I volunteered for an NGO that supports HIV-positive single mothers, and I felt that there were many people who lived one day at a time with a positive attitude.
Nagai: Yes, perhaps that also leads to generosity toward others. I heard that you also launched a crowdfunding campaign for single mothers.
Wanba: Yes, I was volunteering before Covid, and after I returned to Japan, the Covid situation became more serious in Africa. Even though these women are already under economic pressure, inflation has taken off as well.
Nagai: But NGOs do not have enough funds to provide sufficient support?
Wanba: That’s right. I got a call from a staff member who was a good friend of mine saying, “Emiri, what should I do?” I thought about what I could do and started a crowdfunding campaign in Japan. Thanks to that, we were able to reach our goal.
Wanba: That’s right. I got a call from a staff member who was a good friend of mine saying, “Emiri, what should I do?” I thought about what I could do, and started a crowdfunding campaign in Japan. Thanks to that, we were able to reach our goal.
Nagai: That’s wonderful. That’s very encouraging.
Wanba: However, there are other students around me who have started crowdfunding as well, and there are quite a few students who also traveled across Africa and Asia with just one backpack.
Nagai: I often hear people outside the university mention Sophia’s “internationalism,” but I think that this is because the students’ awareness and actions are open to the world. Students here sincerely want to understand what is going on in other countries, and they are able to consider people in Japan and people overseas equally not based on country or ethnicity, but on basis of person to person.
What I want to tell is, the world we see now is not all there is (Wanba)
Wamba: I understand that Sophia has many events such as “UN Weeks” and “AfricaWeeks”. I could hear from various guest speakers and ask questions. There I was able to get a concrete picture of what I am interested in and what kind of things I am interested in.
Nagai: But on the other hand, the time to start job hunting is increasingly becoming sooner than ever, isn’t it? That means that the period in which you can think about and try out various possibilities is also becoming shorter, isn’t it? As a faculty member, I wanted to ask what students frankly think about this.
Wanba: I think that is something that students struggle with. That is why I think it is important to explore their interests early on. I traveled to Africa and tried crowdfunding and realized I was capable of such things. Maybe it was good for me to realize that the world I can see now is not all there is.
Nagai: I couldn’t agree more! It is important to have a variety of experiences and hear from many different people.
Wamba: I totally agree. Through the crowdfunding experience, my dream of creating work that will make a big difference in people’s lives in Africa was hatched. Until then, I was interested in NGOs and international cooperation organizations, but I wanted to approach it in a more sustainable “business” manner. That’s why I looked for a job in that direction.
Nagai: So you found something you were interested in and took the plunge, and the results led to your future.
Wamba: Yes. It will be a challenge with few previous attempts, but if we can accomplish this, I think it will help to stop the outflow of brainpower from Africa.
Nagai: If jobs are created, talented people will not have to go to Europe or the United States. I am sure you can do it.
Wamba: Thank you very much. I will definitely try my best!