By Yui Masataka (Macalester College) / Special to The Japan NewsThis column features reports by Japanese students studying overseas about their life on and off campus.
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I am a senior economics major at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., currently in my last semester. Looking back on my past years at Macalester, the most important things I have learned came from the people I interacted with. Fortunately, I have two Japanese friends who are extraordinarily hardworking. A typical weekday for them is as extreme as this: wake up, study, go to classes, study, work out in the gym, study, and then sleep. On the other hand, my typical day was the following: wake up, sleep again, go to classes, take a nap, study, watch soccer, and sleep. Spending a lot of time with them, I had to realize how lazy I was and how much time I was wasting. Although I am yet to become as hardworking as them, it was crucial to learn to live with full motivation and energy.
I liked how everyone respects each other’s different interests at Macalester. Multiculturalism and internationalism are highly valued here, which was the main reason I chose the college, along with its generous financial aid. When I went to high school in Japan I always felt that I had to spend my life in a way that other people approve of. But here, many people pursue their own interests, and that is why diversity exists. This environment allowed me to actively figure out what I really want to achieve in my life. Confirming that soccer is the only thing for me that is worth devoting my career to, I had set my career goal to work for a professional European soccer team as a general manager. As the first step toward my goal, I started learning Spanish in my second year, basically to study abroad in Spain and experience the soccer culture. I took accelerated classes, which are twice as intensive as ordinary language classes, with five classes per week. After a year and a half of practice, I was chosen to go and study abroad in Madrid, taking all my classes in Spanish. My life there was like a dream because I lived a two-minute walk away from the Real Madrid stadium, and I was extremely fortunate to find a person who invited me to most of the Real Madrid games!
Now I am learning Portuguese as the next step, acknowledging that even if this does not directly lead to my desired career in the short term, it may create a link to a future opportunity in the soccer industry. My in-depth learning at the college will help me to pursue my dream of working in the consulting business and then becoming a general manager.
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Founded in 1874, Macalester College is a liberal arts college with about 2,000 students in full-time enrollment. About 14 percent of them are international students.
In partnership with Ryugaku Fellowship