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Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / A home away from home

Courtesy of Akari Ishida

Akari Ishida, right, when she declared a theater minor with her artist friends with Professor Ortega’s support

By Akari Ishida (Pomona College) / Special To The Japan NewsI hopped off the plane at LAX

With a dream and my cardigan.

Welcomed by Miley Cyrus, I landed in Los Angeles almost two years ago today with virtually the exact thoughts articulated in her song. That, however, was not the case this semester. As I walked down the stairs at Narita Airport, my eyes watered. Even after a week, my homesickness had barely faded, and I found myself already counting down to the end of the semester.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I do not dislike my college — at all. Rather, I am consistently reminded to this day that I made the right choice by choosing Pomona College.

Finding out about my very-first homesickness in college, my friends and professors at Pomona willingly sat with me and listened; they dragged me out of the dorm for some boba at my favorite cafe in Claremont Village; and they continually checked in with me throughout the semester even after I was completely recovered. This is the kind of atmosphere that constantly prevails at Pomona, keeping me falling for the college even through my “sophomore slump.”

Of course, Pomona isn’t any sort of utopia. Most students bring their personal concerns with them, and any economic, political or social issue outside is also present within the bubble. On top of that, the academics here are indeed demanding, and it is not rare for us to be living on five hours of sleep and three cups of coffee. So college isn’t exactly a “Party in the USA,” but I truly mean it when I say that there is no better place for me than Pomona. This is not only because of its delightful weather, but also — and more so — because of this loving community that is truly dedicated to nurturing its community members.

At Pomona, I have found an appreciation for my surrounding communities that motivates me to give back and contribute to society in a similar way. With its liberal arts education, I have found a passion for exploring the intersections of arts and technology, and have declared a major in Media Studies and minors in Theater and possibly Computer Science. Relatedly, I am currently striving to find a means of employing digital media platforms for social good as I look into future careers. I think it is because of Pomona that I am able to value this empowerment of people over other standards of success, and I am truly thankful — especially to my family — that I am able to embark on these adventures and make these discoveries at Pomona College.

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Pomona College

Founded in 1887, the private liberal arts college is currently ranked No. 10 among all U.S. undergraduate colleges by Forbes. Notable faculty of the past include former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Michael Armacost.

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