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Japanese students and KU-SGU

Growing into global human resources who can thrive in global society under the KU brand,
through self-improvement as individuals and as specialists.

棚田早紀_顔写真

棚田早紀_顔写真

*Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management*
Graduate School of Human and Socio-Environmental Studies

Saki TANADA

Digging the Differences

With the blinds closed, you spend four hours a night scanning three hundred pages. Perhaps this is the classic picture of graduate students, but international education at Kanazawa University opens the sphere of learning beyond the blinds and across oceans.

In the twenty-first century, diversity is not just a concept but a reality that we all face. Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management explores ways to sustain cultural diversity in the world. Our goal is to shift a traditional view on cultural heritage from something to be owned to a common global resource. While reading Anthropology, Art History and Museology, we also listen to local voices across Central America, East Asia and Southeast Asia on field trips. Students enrich global awareness by experiencing everyday life in the classroom and the dormitory as a group composed of different ages, nationalities, religious backgrounds and marital statuses.

Such a diverse group needs an effective facilitation. Personally, my background as a resident advisor gave me lessons to communicate patiently in multicultural settings. For five semesters, I worked with seventy international students at an on-campus share-house community called Sakigake. Tiny frustrations could easily occur as a result of unspoken norms that varied among us – “why doesn’t he keep the quiet hours!” or “why doesn’t she do her cleaning chores!” I soon got into the habit of starting small talk to make sure the agreements such as “Exactly what is the time frame when you say ‘on time’?” or “Is the kitchen clean enough for you or not?” Day by day, those taken-for-granted perceptional variations turned out and taught us not only the challenge of appreciating differences but also the pleasure of acting on mutual morality.

The international environment on campus enabled me to communicate smoothly in my research trip abroad as well. Recently, anthropological fieldwork took me to a rural village in eastern Indonesia. During my three-month participation and observation, I came to focus on intriguing rituals surrounding childbirth ceremonies. In order to develop a whole picture of childbearing, I figured out how to approach two distinct groups of people each in the appropriate way. The formal contact – medical professionals – that gave me official permission to be present at childbirth in response to letters I wrote. But equally important was the informal contact – pregnant women – that shared such private hours in response to daily conversation we had in backstreets. Fortunately, my experience of sharing specialized ideas in the diverse university community facilitated deeper exchange of intimate details of life with the villagers.

It’s obvious but often overlooked that meaningful interaction requires eagerness to communicate and understand individual and group logic. In other words, we have to tweak our own blinds to let in the sun. International education at Kanazawa has given me academic and personal opportunities to experience this. I hope that the university continues to broaden its institutional diversity.

 

棚田早紀_フィールドワーク

Fieldwork in Indonesia

 

★Click HERE for details of the Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management.

(Updated: October 16, 2015)

  • Housemates at Sakigake

    Housemates at Sakigake

  • With the classmates of the program

    With the classmates of the program

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