V Edwards is a senior International Business and Japanese double major with a specialization in Political Science. During the fall 2017 semester, she studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. After graduation, V will be returning to Japan as she was recently awarded a Fulbright Open Study/Research Scholarship.
V’s year-long research will be based at Sophia University and Waseda University in Japan. Her project will focus on the evolving landscape of youth political participation in Japan, including the polarization among contemporary Japanese youth activists and non-participants.
After receiving notification of her accepted Fulbright application, V was interviewed by Elizabethtown College’s Director of Communication, Keri Straub for an E-town NOW article. In her interview, she to told Keri, “I am honored to have come this far, but I am even more eager to begin my work abroad and complete a project worthy of the bestowed honors…This award will enable me to return to Japan and devote myself to a project that capitalizes on my passions, strengths, and aspirations.”
V also told Keri, “Being able to engage with individuals and events firsthand, rather than from behind a computer screen, imparts a deep sense of importance to my work…I look forward to listening to the stories of those I meet and understanding their role with respect to larger social trends.”
The Fulbright Program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program.
Study Abroad Experiences Sparks Interest
There’s no doubt that V’s semester in Japan is what sparked her interested in return! When first deciding to study abroad, V chose to study in Osaka because of its location and her ability to live with a host family. Her host parents were both in their 70’s and did not speak English. This forced V to practice her Japanese at home, improving it greatly. Her host parents had an adult son who lived in a neighboring town. Once a week, V tutored the couple’s granddaughter in English.
While in Japan, V was able to travel and indulge in her love for nature. V traveled every weekend in Japan. Her favorite location to visit was Koto, due to its mix of modernity and history. Japan is home to various mountain ranges, temples, and deer parks. Temples are normally located on the tops of mountains. V enjoyed being able to climb to the temple, indulging herself in the beauty of her surroundings and the beauty of the temple itself. Japan is also home to many deer parks, where V was able to get up close and personal with the animal.
One of V’s favorite memories of traveling was visiting Sendai. During this trip, the international students were invited to travel with the women’s running team to cheer them on during their regional competition. Besides being an athletics supporter, V was involved at the university as a member of the calligraphy and boxing clubs.
Overall, traveling allowed V to become well acquainted with the country and its public transportation system. This, coupled with her language skills and cultural understanding, helped V to achieve all the opportunities she has since had.
Prior to studying abroad, V was interested in Japanese politics and her semester in Japan further developed those passions. Since returning to the US, V interned at the the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC as a summer research intern. During this internship, she was able to focus on Japan Studies. This semester, V has also had the opportunity to present at the 27th Annual ASIANetwork Conference’s Student Poster Session in California. She alongside fellow E-town student, Marc Unger, submitted a bilingual entry entitled “Security in Transition: Aum Shinrikyo’s Tenure in Post-Soviet Russia.” Their poster provided an overview of the terrorist organizations’s westward expansion in the wake of Soviet disbandment and also recommended policies to reduce terrorism in politically-transitioning nations.
Congratulations V for all of your current accomplishments and those yet to come!
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