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Hello everyone. Hi, there. How’s it going? It's Teacher Asuka.
Well, I'd like to talk about ‘the biggest adventure in my life’. What is yours?
The biggest adventure in my life is my study abroad experience in Wales, Britain. It was my first experience to live apart from my family at a same time. Thank you for the warmest support of the Welsh Government, I studied in Wales for one academic year as a scholarship student at the University of Wales, Swansea (currently Swansea University). At that time, the Welsh Minister, Mr. Hague would like about 20 students in and around Kobe area who were those affected by the great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 to stay in Wales for about a year to study something useful for the devastated area. He said to us that he would also like to give back to the Japanese people who had supported economically to Wales just after its main industry, coal mine declined.
the National flag of Wales
Speaking of Wales, you may know not only Welsh cakes I showed you in my previous column but also its famous sport, which is ‘Rugby’. The Cardiff Millennium Stadium which is known as National stadium was built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. In addition, every March the 1st is St. David’s Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and he is celebrated on the 1 March. On this day, people in Wales wear one or both of Wales’s national emblems—a daffodil and a leek. Across the country, there are street parades that are great fun for everyone with lots of Welsh flags flying.
When it comes to my study abroad experience there, I stayed in a flat owned by the university. The flat is in the Hendrefoelan Student Village, located on a hill in the north from the Swansea University
so that I used to take a bus to get to the university. The city of Swansea is a university town in South Wales as well as in the west of Cardiff. Swansea has both sea and uplands, or hills. The price of coffee is about 2-3 pounds. On these points, Swansea seems very alike my hometown, Kobe.
My flat was a second-story accommodation. On ‘the ground floor’, which means ‘the first floor’ in British English, there was ‘a surgery’, which means ‘a clinic’ in British English. There were 4 rooms, 1 kitchen, 1 dining room and 1 bathroom on the 2nd floor. My room was one of them. My flat mates were like as follows: 2 Japanese, 1 Singaporean and 1 Malaysian. They were all women. My Malaysian flat mate was a Muslim. Her culture was completely different from Japanese culture. For example, as for ‘Ramadan’, which is a fast held from sunrise to sunset that is carried out during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, she couldn’t eat anything at all in the daytime. Therefore, she always asked me to have a sample taste every dish she cooked before dinner because she could only have a taste her meal at night. It was a different sort of experience for me to try new Malaysian dish before my own dinner. Trying to Malaysian dish itself was my first experience at that time. It was spicy for me because of putting lots of red and green peppers into her every dish. Her friends used to come to my flat to have dinner with all her friends until midnight.
One day, I provided a Japanese dish like ‘okonomiyaki’, a Japanese-style pizza to them for an international exchange, but they refused to eat a piece of them. Why was that? The reason was the ingredients I used were not for Muslim people. They were not allowed to eat them if they’d like to do so because I didn’t get all foods and ingredients at a Muslim shop. They told me to buy all the ingredients at the Muslim shop so that they could eat the meal I cooked. Next time I bought some ingredients at the Muslim shop and provided to them ‘okonomiyaki’ again, they were happy to eat them completely! I was so relieved this time! I enjoyed staying with my flat mates in this way.
At the university, I studied especially ‘Development Studies’ which is a kind of international relations field and deals with social issues like the international economic disparities between Developed countries and Developing countries. Swansea University has its own Center for Development Studies so that I decided to study there in terms of making my specialization as well as being beneficial for the devastated area I mentioned before.
As you know, Britain was used to be a ‘Great Britain’ and had many colonies like Hong Kong, all over the world, therefore there were many kinds of research or studies relating colonialism in British Universities. After the 2nd World War, a lot of colonies had won their independence, such historical research or studies about colonialism in British Universities turned to be ‘Development Studies’ to support development of their former colony areas gradually. In addition, they say that the number of Non-Governmental Organization in Britain such as ‘Amnesty International’, ’Oxfam’ and so on, is the most numerous in the world. I was deeply impressed by such a drastic and quick change to promote better world for the future. I would like to give back something good for others through my biggest adventures like what the Welsh Minister, Mr. Hague once did.
I hope you enjoy reading (or listening) this time as well！
Thank you for joining me. See you next time!
Bye for now.
For more info click below: VisitWales