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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

Student Reports

Student Reports

CAMPUS Asia Program Report

Eui Jin LEE


The biggest motivation for me to join CAP was to become a true representative of East Asia. I was a typical kid that loves whatever is related to ‘international’ and always wanted to study or work abroad partly because I grew up feeling a sort of hardships as a Korean minority in Japanese society. However, the experience of studying in the US, through undergraduate exchange program, actually taught me the importance of representing one’s country or region together with history, culture and language. Then, I decided to be a part of CAP, hoping to have my feet on my own background before bringing an argument to the international level.

My time with CAP over the past 2 years has provided me with deeper understanding and insight towards where I have been raised. The best part of the program is to actually experience local life in each countries. At the first stage, one would face troubles after realizing that even East Asian countries have different personality and lifestyle with each other, just like I did. Yet, as I learned how to use public transportation, how to communicate with local people or how to enjoy local foods, I started developing better understanding in the way people live in the society. People in Japan, including myself, tend to see everything from the same standard that they apply in the Japanese society. But we need to know that even our neighbors have had different path in the history which has resulted in the different society. Once I got to realize this point, it has helped me enjoy digging into varieties of local culture more deeply.

For me, especially rich and vivid religious contents in both societies were very impressive. Korean society is known to be very Confucian but Christian churches have strong influence in politics and people still celebrate the birthday of Buddha on a large scale. In addition, very emotional rituals of Shamanism is said to have affected people’s personality. On the other hand, China used to be the gateway for Christianity in East Asia and there are old architectures left on the street or Bible from a long time ago reserved at bookstore. Moreover, Beijing has a Muslim Mosque with about 1000 years of history where many Muslim Chinese still keep their service. Various Muslim foods are also available and all taste very good. These kind of features are something I didn’t know until I actually became a member of the society even though it was relatively a short term.

So, the good news now is that we still share many aspects despite the differences. Better understanding for those differences in each societies taught me how exciting it is for countries to share something such as history, culture, language or values. At the same time, it is very sad that we still have many difficult issues to be solved in the region. But I believe that our generation can achieve better cooperation towards the future if more and more opportunities of exchange, such as CAP, are promoted from now on.