I spent about three months in Japan although strangely, I have enough memories to fill a year! They are as vivid and colourful as if it was yesterday. I remember with an incredible accuracy my first thoughts when I heard about WCI; the excitement, the taste for adventure, the anticipation of learning and meeting strangers from all over the world. I also recall the uncomfortable feeling that accompanied me in the last days before I left for this life-altering trip.
The first month is about getting out of your comfort zone (pushing it further and further), making the first and most important learning about the unique Japanese culture, meeting people from all over the globe and learning from them. Life in host families, the Japanese environment and being in the program allows you to create a new life for yourself. A life in which honesty, trust and personal responsibility are at the foundation of the new character you become. Visiting incredible sites such as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Museums, the Hiroshima A-Dome and Matsumoto Castle were some of the great opportunities we had. We also had meetings with different guest lecturers such as two A-Bomb survivors; a university doctor that spoke about communication and the chairman of the board of education of Ueda. We also had the incredible chance to assist in the peace ceremony in Hiroshima on August 6th, the Ueda Washoi event and the Buddhist week in Omura! Unforgettable moments…
Having a handful of members leaving after the first month when Session 1 was finished, the priorities diverted from the initial learning to the creation of a big family in Japan. Experiential learning became internal communication learning (among the participants) and the bonds between the participants grew immensely creating a priceless international network. Also, dealing with these 14 different cultures and evolving in the Japanese culture allows you to naturally start introspecting and adjusting your thoughts, behaviours, etc, to international standards. The environment changed radically as we passed from big cities to the isolated city of Uda in the Nara prefecture. The second face of Japan was about to be revealed…
As the World Campus – Japan program came to an end, the last month in Japan became a moment of reflection about the changes and learning brought by WCI. Members shared their last memories together in what became their life in Japan. We had different important events such as the visit to one of Toyota Corporation’s manufacturing plants and the meeting with their P.R. representatives or the ExxonMobil presentation where some of us had the opportunity to communicate with important management members. Giving classes to students and assisting university courses where we would integrate or share international opinions to the topic were also on the menu. Finally, some members had the most difficult task of the program – leaving for home. The strong family created by the hard and good times of WCI made it incredibly difficult to let those people go. I myself sometimes had a hard time spending all my time with the same people every day but in the end, these friends, brothers and sisters who were part of me…. letting them go and leaving on my own was a tremendous task.
Finally, back home, it’s only then that you discover the real changes that operate in you. Your mentality changed, your knowledge increased, your interest and priorities were reorganised and you acquired (want it or not) a certain form of discipline and an energy reserve that can allow you to function more and longer than before. Besides, you now have friends and family all over the world that support you, understand you and that want to hear what you have to say. Facing your real self again, your environment and the person you became allow you to make final changes in your person and fix what had to be fixed and lets you take another great step towards wherever you are going.
To describe World Campus International in a few words, I would say: “Life changing, learning, appreciation for your own background, respect for others and yourself, lifetime opportunity and most memorable”.
If ever you are interested in WCI, please be in touch; I can only wish you can experience what I experienced as it might just change your life and in the long run change the world for the best.
Best regards & Peace,