I was born in South Africa and lived in Johannesburg until the age of ten. After that I came to Japan and attended school in Tokyo. When I was in high school I studied abroad in Australia, and later entered the Okayama University Discovery Program. Currently, I’m in my third year and studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh.
I grew up in a bicultural environment: my father is from South Africa and my mother is from Japan. I have a positive view of my African and Japanese backgrounds and I’m proud of my identity. In the Discovery Program, everyone’s background and individuality are welcomed.
The Discovery Program
The Discovery Program itself is a very diverse environment in two regards. On the one hand, there’s the diversity of backgrounds. Students in this program differ in many respects, such as cultural heritage, where they were raised, religious affiliations, and so on. Another is the diversity of ideas. The faculty fosters an environment where students’ own way of thinking is respected. In the classroom, dialogue is encouraged, which allows students to deepen and develop their ideas.
Okayama University is a national university, so the tuition is not as high as a private school. I think that this provides opportunity for many students to have access to higher education. Most of the learning methods focus on practical and interactive activities, discussions, presentations, and on-site surveys.
There is a thriving artistic community in the Setouchi area where Okayama University is located. One great event is the Setouchi Triennale,* a contemporary art festival held on a dozen islands in the Seto Inland Sea, showcasing work of artists from all over the world. This festival connects the local and international community through modern art and celebrates the environment and the Seto Inland Sea. It’s been revitalizing for the area.
My father is an artist, and through that influence I have always been interested in how artists express their creativity through their work. Access to reliable funding is crucial for artists to continue contributing to their communities creatively. By creating this kind of financial support system, I believe we can protect artists and give them the supportive environment they need.
Through business management and international classes in the Discovery Program, I got involved with the local community in Tsuyama City in Okayama. This led me to start thinking deeper about community leadership and how systems are built. I am currently studying at the University of Edinburgh in order to enhance my global perspective even more. In the future, I hope to use my African and Japanese cultural background as an advantage in business. My goal is to become a leader who supports artists through social entrepreneurship.
The Discovery Program is a place where you can find what you want to do, interact with multicultural students, and better yourself while learning from each other. It’s a great learning environment for students who will be entrepreneurs, non-profit directors, politicians, journalists and other leaders of the future.
*The Setouchi Triennale, held every three years, takes place within the framework of Art Setouchi which continues every year.