FUTI Volunteer, Ms. Akiko Sokai

Ms. Akiko Sokai and her daughter

My name is Akiko Sokai. I am a volunteer for Friends of UTokyo. When I moved to New York in the spring of 2016, I was asked to serve as a co-administrator of FUTI’s Facebook page. Among other assignments, I am in charge of FUTI’s Facebook series, “Report from the Scene/Field: From FUTI Scholarship Recipients.”
In “Report from the Scene/Field”, students in the FUTI Global Summer Leadership and the Ito Foundation USA-FUTI programs share their notes and photos with readers about their study abroad. I read with pleasure and excitement the reports from UTokyo students about their developing friendship with classmates from all over the world and the lively classroom interaction at US universities which is different from common Japanese practice. US students share with readers their fresh excitement at encountering Japanese culture and lifestyle for the first time. I respond to each student’s post in the “Comment” section of his/her post.
My degree is from the International Relations Department (Kokusai Kankei-ron) of UTokyo, but I did not have a chance to study abroad. I experienced non-Japanese cultures first hand, as I moved to U.K. and then to U.S.A, with my husband who was assigned to overseas posts. I sometimes think that had I experienced study abroad in my student days, my value system could have been different from what it is now. I believe the experience of studying outside Japan is a valuable basis for FUTI scholarship students to become “global leaders” in the future.
Currently I lead a busy life taking care of our infant daughter. Sometimes when I am awakened by her crying in the middle of the night (yonaki), I take advantage of a quiet moment and work on the Report from the Field project. If I wasn’t given the opportunity to work on this project, I would miss the pleasure of stimulating exchanges with students, receiving words of encouragement from FUTI directors, and being exposed firsthand to the challenges and possibilities of the globalization of Japanese education. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all of those who understand and support this project.
Author: Akiko Sokai
A few words from the administration
Dr. Koichi Hamada, FUTI Director, and Professor Emeritus at Yale University and UTokyo, comments: “The Report from the Field” plays an important role in FUTI’s scholarship administration since every year as many as 20 students directly share their joys and challenges of study abroad experience with fellow students, FUTI supporters, and staff. We are grateful to Ms. Sokai who manages the program and encourage each student who reports his/her experience.” Dr. Masako Osako, member of the Scholarship Committee, remarks: Ms. Sokai has fine professional credentials with diplomas from London College of Education, Graduate School at the Institute of International Education in London (Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language) and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (MA in Japanese Applied Linguistics). Despite her busy life as a young mother, she is making a significant contribution to FUTI’s scholarship program.”
Translation: FUTI

Articles in this newsletter: