Rika Awakihara ’14
Hometown: Hiroshima, Japan
Future Global Salesman
Member of the Association of International Students and intern in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
Why Mount Union
I chose Mount Union because my high school and Mount Union have had a relationship for more than 50 years, and the former director of the Center for Global Education came to my school to meet and recruit students. I already knew some of the faculty and staff so that made me feel more comfortable coming to the United States to study abroad. I also liked the small class sizes, which allow students and faculty member to get to know each other better.
Major and Minor
When I came to college in the United States I knew I wanted to learn something that would be useful in Japan because I plan to return to Japan after I graduate. I ended up choosing sociology as my major because it can be used in many academic fields. I also chose to minor in communication and business administration so I could gain more practical knowledge that would complement my major.
Learning American Culture
Minority Group Relationships with Dr. Anisi Smith, lecturer of sociology, was my favorite class. My Japanese background made it hard for me to understand relationships between different racial/ethnic groups because Japan has little racial/ethnic diversity, but this class opened my eyes and make me better understand American society and culture.
Abundance of Opportunities
My internship, which is part of my sociology senior practicum, has been my favorite hands-on opportunity within my major. I’m interning in the Office of Student Affairs, encouraging intercultural interaction and helping international students have a rewarding study abroad experience.
Dr. William Coleman, professor emeritus of communication, and Dr. Naoko Oyabu-Mathis, professor of sociology, have been my favorite professors since freshman year. They have always supported me both inside and outside of the classroom. After having a conversation with them about the difficulties international students face and how I have been personally frustrated with the situation, they both encouraged me to intern in the Office of Student Affairs as a first step in making a difference.
Ultimately, I’d like to be a global salesman. Luckily, I had the chance to study in England as a Mount Union exchange student in the spring semester of my sophomore year. I’ve lived in three countries: Japan, the United States and England and have traveled to more than 10 European countries where I realized there are so many great things each country has to offer. As a global salesman, I would like to increase the exchange of goods and skills as well as cultural exchange so others could enjoy a better life.
As a global salesman, I would like to increase the exchange of goods and skills as well as cultural exchange so others could enjoy a better life.