The joys of international diversity

 ”Who do you meet every day?”  

It’s the question I have often received since I moved to Syracuse from Japan. 

One of the biggest advantages at Syracuse University is that you can benefit from a wonderfully diverse experience as a community member. I love meeting new people and am very curious about knowing different cultures, so I enjoy this circumstance to the fullest. 

So, to answer the question, a typical day for me goes this: 

In the morning, I walk to the campus with my American neighbor. My first class is with classmates from Egypt, Taiwan, India and Nigeria. After lunch with my Turkish and Pakistani friends, I stop by a café on campus to say hi to my friend from Peru, who works there. 

Then, I move to the library to discuss my future start-up ideas with my Russian and Brazilian pals. In the afternoon, I join the yoga class in the school gym with my friends from Tajikistan and Iraq. 

I ask my Belarusian and Nicaraguan friends for advice. On weekends, I go out to see a musical with people from Afghanistan and Indonesia or have tea with my Mongolian friend. I also love hopping around local Asian restaurants with my Chinese pal. 

Sometimes there is a gathering at some friends’ house, and I have my first chance to eat Uzbekistani food my friend makes and I immediately fall in love with it.  

I also meet people from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ghana, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Germany. It will be more than 30 nationalities I have encountered, just by being a student at SU. 

Their majors are all different, from business, law, education, psychology, biology, music, data security, etc.  

Professors also have exciting backgrounds; some are well-experienced journalists, while others have deep knowledge about entrepreneurship and investing. It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to listen to their stories and advice. 

Gender, age, or title; they don’t matter here. Everyone has a different background, and they all respect each other. Everyone came here to pursue their own goals. I assume most of them have sacrificed to go here, but all of them are brave enough to meet the challenge and start a new chapter. 

We all know that this circumstance will not last forever. Everyone’s time is limited. Everyone has a finishing line for their courses and plans. We all are anxious about our future in some way. Some friends have an issue going back to their home countries because of lack of safety, while others try to enjoy their freedom here, which they can’t obtain in their homeland. 

That is why we cherish this once-in-a-lifetime moment as much as we can. We enjoy each encounter, respect who we are, laugh together and spend happy times together. I do not doubt that this is one of the gems I can experience being a graduate student at SU. I love meeting, talking and spendig time with them. I respect them because they all have different perspectives, experiences and standpoints. I love to discover our differences and what we have in common. My friends expand my world practically and literally. 

I am grateful I can be one of the members of this diverse community. If I haven’t met you yet, I hope to see you someday! 

Asako Takaguchi

Asako Takaguchi is a graduate student in the new media management program at the Newhouse School.