A University Like No Other

A University Like No Other

Thu, Nov 5, 2020
A University Like No Other

This article is a reprint of a contribution piece originally published in the Waseda USA Newsletter Vol. 12 (Summer 2018).

My journey began when I was first introduced to Japanese culture through my older brother. Every Saturday morning we would flip on the T.V, play Pokemon, and watch anime together. This was my earliest memory of being exposed to Japanese culture.

Imagine a curious seven-year old Chinese-American boy double-clicking “AOL” on the family desktop. As I waited for the computer to complete its cries for help, a yellow cartoon man runs away from some invisible monster, or perhaps carrying some invisible box.

As the images of Japan slowly and painfully loaded line by line on my screen, I looked in wonder. I saw images of another country, culture, and people. Images of beautiful mountains, enormous sumo wrestlers, towering sky-scrapers, and the mystical “gyaru” filled my screen. From that day forward, I was hooked. I knew I had to experience Japan for myself.

Fast-forward to my freshman year at university. I only had goal: to study and live in Japan.

As a student in Waseda’s School of International Liberal Studies (SILS) – formerly known as Kokusaibu for some of my senpai reading – it was not only filled with unforgettable memories, but also life-changing experiences.

I ate food I never knew existed, attempted things I didn’t know I had the courage to do, and communicated and lived in a foreign language. Perhaps some of the more memorable experiences include: being taken to the ER in an ambulance, bungee jumping off a bridge in Gunma Prefecture, and traveling over 40 hours to Shikoku from Tokyo solely on local trains – just because we could.

My time at Waseda exploded my interest I had in Japan since I was a child. I simply could not have enough.

I later discovered that my year at Waseda was a typical experience for many Waseda alumi. From the first generation of Kokusaibu to the fresh graduates of SILS, everyone has nothing but positive stories to share. Usually it starts with, “This one time at Takadanobaba…”

Currently, I work for an international education group based in Los Angeles. Although my professional career has only begun, my time at Waseda and as an international student was one of the reasons why I was considered the most adequate candidate during the hiring process.

Since graduating from university, I returned to Japan half a dozen times and counting. Every time my itinerary includes a visit Waseda. I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity of a lifetime to experience Waseda University.

Michael Tang
Studied abroad at the School of International Liberal Studies in 2013

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