Just Like Home: Finding Community in a Foreign University | Edukasyon.ph
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Just Like Home: Finding Community in a Foreign University

Change is good. But it can also be quite scary.

It can be getting a bold haircut, going to a new school, or shifting to a different course. But have you ever changed your address to a place thousands of miles from home? Because that’s another story. A whole new level of scary, too.

Gabriella de Asis, an exchange student from California State University, shares her experience in this article—leaving her home university to study at Waseda University. How did she do it? Read her story!

“You took hula lessons when you were a kid?”

11 years ago, Gabriella had no idea how taking hula lessons for the summer would impact her life. Fast forward to the present, she’s being asked—on her birthday—to be part of Waseda’s hula group. Not to mention it’s her first day in the university, too.

Thanks to Reren and Niji No Kai, her newfound friends from the Waseda International Circle (WIC), she was able to slowly immerse in the campus culture. They toured her around the campus, showed her the inexpensive shops and restaurants, and even helped her run errands. 

“An hour later, I was wearing a floral apron and holding a sign that said, “Furi Furi Chicken, 400 Yen.”

To say the least, things went by quickly. Gabriella found herself sewing hula-themed aprons for what she thought was a dance performance. It was for the Yataimura, a food stall village at the main Waseda campus.

Yataimura filled the campus in festive spirit. Gabriella? She was walking around the campus with the Hula team selling two Hawaiian dishes, Furi Furi Chicken and Garlic Shrimp! “Furi Furi Chikin, ikaga desu ka?,” she’d call out with a sign above her head. 

“What I witnessed that morning was truly a village, a community coming together to celebrate.”

Even alumni visited Waseda to support the students by buying their products. Different batch and majors, but the same school spirit. Gabriella shares how their words of encouragement comforted her. 

You can find your community at Waseda University, too.

International students value community. It’s that sense of belonging in a different environment that makes studying abroad memorable. Gabriella found hers in the welcoming friends she met at Waseda. How about you?

Being an international student doesn’t have to make you feel foreign. In the right school, you can feel right at home. Be a part of the community at Waseda University!