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Student Voices

  • Buyandelger

    I have come to cherish my own ethnicity and my background more than ever by entering the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia University. Coming from Mongolia, the landlocked country with only two neighbors, the diversity of the FLA community struck me.

    For such community, the variety of FLA curriculums provides the solid foundation to learn and acknowledge the cultural differences and to think globally with a critical mind. In many of my classes from the IBE major, I could deepen my understanding of timely issues and controversial topics of the Japanese and the global economy. Furthermore, the in-class discussions encourage students to share their values and experiences, which become a great resource for a multicultural understanding. The higher level IBE courses often include group assessments, allowing students to further hone their presentational and teamwork skills. Altogether, I strongly believe Sophia’s liberal arts education is enriched by the skillful guidance of the professors and each student’s contribution of their distinctive experiences.
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  • Gwynie

    I have really enjoyed my time at the FLA. Of all the English language programs I renewed during my first year I found the FLA’s classes the most challenging and stimulating.

    The FLA feels like a small, liberal arts college in the US to the extent that the small class sizes encourage meaningful discussion and make it possible to really get to know your professors. All my professors have been passionate about their subjects; more than that, they’ve also been enthusiastic about sharing knowledge outside the classroom. Whether its learning classical Japanese or about the depiction of the sublime in post-Rococo art, I feel extremely lucky to have been surrounded by such down-to-earth, approachable educators. Living and studying in Tokyo has been the best experience of my life, hands down. I have gone through so much self reflection trying to sort out which parts of me were my own. Of course, I am still a work in progress, but Tokyo has given me the space and inspiration and freedom to pursue literally anything I want. Where else can I learn the shamisen, snack on Cameroonian food, and then go home to have a takoyaki party with my Japanese, Korean, Swedish, French, Taiwanese, Swiss, Chinese, and American housemates?
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  • Tatsuya

    Studying at the Faculty of Liberal Arts has constantly been about self-exploration. The interdisciplinary structure of the general courses allowed me to wander freely between subjects, and the engaging courses taught by accomplished professors enabled me to find that one subject and class I finally clicked with.

    This capacity for self-discovery is what I treasured above all else at the FLA. You will find here a diverse environment where students can learn to think critically and develop their own take of the world. Students majoring in Social Studies are especially given the chance to merge theory with practice by doing fieldwork. In my case, examining the dynamics of social displacement through interviews with foreign individuals. Perhaps the most important thing I learned at the FLA is that some knowledge is only accessed by getting your hands dirty and applying yourself out there where it all happens.
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  • Satoshi

    As a Japanese citizen who has spent the majority of my life away from Japan, I was drawn to the hybridism of the FLA, populated by students who attended international schools in Japan, by kikokushijō returning to the country they can’t quite call “home,” and foreign students intrigued by Japan and its culture.

    The FLA allows all of us to come together, study together and have fun together in a community that recognizes the uniqueness that comes from being global in a country that celebrates homogeneity. I would never have experienced this unless I’d attended the FLA. Tokyo has all that a college student needs: safety, convenience, culture and entertainment. Other perks of Tokyo include the ability to make a smooth transition from college to the workplace and the opportunity to forge strong connections with a variety of students, international businessmen, and even celebrities, both inside and outside Sophia. I have been able to parlay many such connections into internships, jobs and friendships.
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  • Amy

    As with any college, there have been ups and downs with my classes, some of them being harder than others. But most of my professors were very involved with their students, and there was never a time when a professor was unwilling to take the time to answer my questions outside of class.

    In particular I enjoyed the business classes because I was able to learn more about current events and the global economy than I think I could have from any school with a less diverse staff. It was wonderful to take class trips to companies like Toyota and Nissan, and going to shrines and museums for class projects was a fun way of getting closer to the history of Japan. I absolutely love Sophia’s location! It is in the heart of Tokyo, which makes it easy to go to all of the best spots in the city. The central location makes it possible to live just about anywhere in the city and still have a reasonable commute. It’s also a wonderful location because there are so many parks, stores, restaurants, companies, museums, and historic sites that are literally right there. I think the experience I’ve had here would have been impossible in locations such as Osaka or Kyoto. Living and studying in Tokyo is hard to describe, but it is by far the best experience I have ever had!American housemates?
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  • Vanda

    I have been studying at the FLA for only a year, but all the things that I have studied so far have been eye-opening. Within this one year alone, I have come to many new realizations about myself, my home country, and the world.

    As part of this process I have also come to realize that many of my long-held beliefs are not necessarily true. The coursework, as well as my relationships with the professors, have encouraged me to better understand the society in which I live and how to become a more fair-minded person – to see things from several perspectives, not just from one. I feel that I have changed for the better since entering the FLA. I have learned how to be more independent and how to rely less on others.
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  • Daisuke

    The relationship between the students and the professors here in the FLA has been very comforting, particularly because the environment is similar to what I’ve experienced in 12 years of international school education.

    I found the FLA professors to be passionate about what they teach and always willing to meet with students outside class to answer questions or go over difficult material. Not only do they teach students how to solve problems, they also guide students to think and act on their own. There is an abundance of different cultures represented at Sophia. As a result, students accept each other for who they are. There is no sense that students form cliques according to race or nationality; rather, such differences are welcomed by others with open arms. Diversity is what makes the FLA one-of-a-kind.
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  • Claire

    I’ve found everyone within the FLA to be welcoming and accepting, and no-one has ever hesitated to help me out when I’ve needed it. Making friends has been beyond easy and we frequently get together outside of class.

    I’ve even bumped into FLA students while out and about in Tokyo and had the pleasure of joining them for whatever they had planned. The warmth of the student body is fabulous and contagious! The FLA’s professors come from an impressive range of countries and are passionate about the subjects they teach, making the learning experience diverse and interesting. Meeting with my professors outside of class was easy to arrange and extremely helpful. I was impressed with the spectrum of course offerings within the FLA and was easily able to find both the courses I needed to transfer to my home university and others that I wanted to take just because they seemed interesting. I came to Japan to study Japanese, and I have, but I’ve also received the unexpected bonus of learning about other cultures and subjects as well. My long-term goals lie in foreign relations-related work and I can’t think of any better experience studying abroad than the one I’ve had at Sophia’s FLA.
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  • Conner

    When I came to Sophia as an exchange student from the US, rather than focusing primarily on language acquisition, I decided to study a wide variety of subjects.

    As a result, I wound up enrolling in literature, business, mathematics, and language courses. In the end, I was extremely pleased with my decision, since it gave me the opportunity to get to know more students and professors than a more focused curriculum would have allowed. I found that I enjoyed all my classes for different reasons: the literature course had a phenomenal class atmosphere, the business and math courses put me in touch with like-minded individuals, and the language course allowed me to connect with students who, like me, came from overseas. Sophia was fantastic for helping me acclimatize to life in Tokyo. I consider myself to be a worldly guy, but I think it would have been much harder to settle in without the welcoming and international atmosphere of the FLA. The program allowed me to make friends instantly with both study-abroad students and fulltime students. When I left my home university, I couldn’t have asked to be a part of a better student body than I found at Sophia. I will be drawing on these experiences for a lifetime.
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  • Madeleine

    Whenever a class period finishes at Sophia, a sea of students surge the campus’ main street. The road becomes instantly cramped, crowded, chaotic.

    Each side is occupied with lines of people walking in opposite directions. In my experience, within crossing that ocean of humanity, you will always find a familiar face — someone to smile and bow your head to. The university is not a very large one and that is possibly what I love most about it: the community you are immersed in is one that is incredibly close and strikingly supportive. In the FLA, you have the opportunity to engage with every one of your classmates; you feel less intimidated when vocalizing your thoughts in class; your professors actually learn your name. When you have such a strong and present network of support, you feel really motivated to study and do your very best. The FLA has that and I feel supremely privileged to have benefitted from it.
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