Student Journeys

Studying Development Abroad: My Biggest Dream

During my education engagement, I got the chance to have this opportunity twice. The first was in my high-school days. Thinking about which University to go to, studying aboard was an exciting option for me. However, I couldn’t persuade my parents, so I ended up attending a university in Japan. And the second chance was in my first year at the University. I applied for an exchange program but had to postpone it due to COVID-19. So I finally got another chance in my second year, leading me to attend the University of Westminster.

The reason I got interested in “Development” is based on the experience of spending my childhood in the United States. What shocked me in the United States was the distribution of wealth and how it impacted youngsters’ education. I realized the existence of such disparity when I attended a local pre-kindergarten and elementary school. Pre-kindergarten was located in a low-income area with many Hispanics and Africans, while the elementary school was in a high-income area with many Caucasians. Therefore, although my grades were excellent in pre-kindergarten, I began to realize my inability to catch up with my classmates as I started learning in elementary school. From the experience of living with people who belong to different cultures, I started thinking about “Equality” and “Education”, which led me to get interested in “Development” studies.
Furthermore, studying politics in Japan, I have noticed that we learned a lot about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent intervention of the United States. However, they still need to teach us about the annexation of Korea. This felt uncomfortable and encouraged me to study it myself from various perspectives.

In my African Political studies in Japan, I developed an interest in colonialism and how it was taught and understood in the West.

So there are many reasons why studying development is fascinating to me. Still, briefly, this is why I took my third year off from the University in Japan and came here as an international student.

To be honest, my first week didn’t appear as I expected. The way the course moves on is entirely different from what I have had in my home country, and the discussions during seminars made me realize that I knew nothing about the world and even about my country compared to other students. Anxiety is always in my head. However, writing this blog reminded me that this was what I was always willing to go through.

Studying at the University of Westminster will undoubtedly be one of the essential steps toward accomplishing my dream.

Kazumi Hirai, Studying Abroad

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