Good Morning. Congratulations on your admission to NIC International College in Japan. I would also like to express our appreciation to the parents and the guests who have come here today to celebrate the new beginning for our students.
I wonder how you have spent the past years before NIC. There must have been moments of setbacks, worries and hardships, but there should have been moments of happiness, joy and excitement too. Many things happened in my life too. I was already past 30 years of age when I really found what I wanted to do with my life. After a series of meetings with staff from the University of Nevada, Reno and employees of the State of Nevada, we were able to establish the University of Nevada, Reno Japan campus, and we now gather here today to celebrate the 22nd Opening Ceremony of NIC.
There are nearly 8,000 NIC alumni around the globe. Politicians, National Public Officers, Lawyers, CPAs, Teachers at local universities, high schools, junior high schools, Filmmakers, Artists such as Painters, Cameramen, Nurses, Pilots for Commercial Airlines, Ground Staff, Hotel Managers, an engineer at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) developing robots, an alumnus who flies all over the world working for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), working professionals, and those who have started their own businesses, they are all your “Sempai” alumni who have found their pathways in life and have been walking the pathways to fulfill their dreams.
A few years ago, Dr. Koshiba of Tokyo University received a Nobel Prize in Physicis, studying in the field of invisible particles called neutrinos from supernova explosions. Around that time, an NIC alumnus, a branch manager for Panasonic in Ho Chi Miny City, visited us and said, “All NIC alumni are Nobel Prize winners because they are putting all the efforts just to find things that cannot be even seen.” I was moved by this remark of his.
If you have already found your pathway and decided to come to NIC and Lakeland College in Japan, please pursue that pathway. If you have decided to come to NIC and Lakeland College in Japan in order to find your pathway, please keep the strong will to find it while you study with us. No life is filled only with happiness; it is filled with setbacks, hardships, excitements and joys. If you would like to find the pathway, please continue your efforts without regret and keep building a strong foundation where you can build your dreams upon.
There are the “Three Spirits” that could help you find your own pathways.
The first spirit is the “Spirit of Globalization.” The real-time interface the world witnesses today allows us to foster every aspect of our life in politics, economics, logistics, transportations and communications. Under such circumstances, it will be extremely important to act upon the accumulated knowledge, to appreciate the differences, and to be able to communicate with people from different backgrounds.
The second spirit is the “Spirit of Self-Initiatives.” Japan has accomplished a dramatic economic development through its relentless efforts, but it faces another economic crisis now. We must rebuild its economy and regain confidence in it. Educating those who could lead the society not only in the field of economies but also in the various fields will be a key to its success. In addition, it is essential to educate people who are rich in mind, fulfilled with harmonies and peace too. In order for us to accomplish this, one must have his or her own initiative and act based on accumulated wisdom and knowledge that could rejuvenate a society. Regardless of your field of study, you must have the initiative to think and act. I urge you to have this Spirit of Initiative.
For now, the “Spirit of Globalization”, the “Spirit of Initiative” and issues surrounding the world & Japan have been mentioned in the speech. The third spirit I would like to introduce is the “Spirit of Cooperation”. There will be a time when you must face difficulties. Some of them may be something you cannot solve by yourself. You must learn to cooperate with others and share wisdom and ideas. This concept applies not only to your friends but also to communities and countries around the world. There will be a time when you must build a healthy relationship even with people whose interests may pose a strong conflict with yours. Again, a life is filled with setbacks, hardships, excitement and joys. Everybody must have a burden deep inside their heart, and we need to try to learn that burden to understand more about others. One cannot be understood without knowing others, and the “Spirit of Cooperation” requires you to cooperate with each other.
I beg you to learn these three spirits mentioned above and follow the footsteps laid by your “Sempai” alumni and create your own pathway in an attempt to build a new world order of your own generation. “Knowledge”, “Spirits” and “Encounters” are the three precious subjects you are going to learn at NIC and Lakeland College in Japan. Maintain high spirits, set a life-long dream, and trust yourself to walk a pathway that may be challenging but also rewarding. Congratulations.
Today I would like to congratulate all of you on coming to NIC and Lakeland College. I have no doubt that all of you possess something special in terms of having made a big decision coming here. In my age, studying abroad was rare for Japanese people, and even after several decades, although it has become easy and free to go out of the country, it might be a difficult decision for parents to let their children go. Even today I suppose you still are worried or strained. Among the same generation of more than a million students, although most of them choose domestic universities, you are here with strong will to go to universities overseas. In this sense, you are the selected people—The people who seriously want to make your dreams come true and to contribute to the society at large, are here from all over Japan and other countries. We truly welcome all of you who bravely stepped forward towards your new challenge.
This is the 22nd year for NIC. We started as UNR's branch campus in Japan in 1988, and since then about 8000 students from more than 2200 high schools have enrolled at NIC, and they have gone to prestigious universities in USA, UK, Australia and other countries. Furthermore, we were able to get a student into Cambridge University’s Vet Program last year. We hope NIC will expand its reputation as the gateway to universities in the world.
We met Lakeland College President Steve Gould in 1994. Since then NIC and Lakeland College have strived to offer the only authentic international education as sister schools. Currently at Lakeland College Japan Campus about 30% of its total number consists of oversea students including those from Hong Kong, Spain, Ghana, Singapore, Thailand, Nigeria, Korea, China, Taiwan and Nepal as well as USA. NIC, likewise, has a variety of students who are diverse in terms of age, from 16 to 73 years old. In addition to high school graduates, there are those who transferred from Japanese universities, high school teachers, and one medical doctor, as well. Furthermore, we have had several students who are brothers and sisters, and both parent and children together have enrolled at NIC.
Today I am going to be talking about how NIC and Lakeland will change your life.
First of all, you will learn about exposing yourself. Exposing yourself is crucial and fundamental but very, very difficult at times. I quite often meet students who cannot talk about themselves at the interview of the entrance examination. This is because they do not have so many opportunities to do so in daily classes, but at the same time they are rarely asked to do so by teachers or colleagues. Therefore, it seems quite common to them that they even do not have experiences telling others about their dreams or hopes.
The latest score ranking in TOEFL was reported and it was shameful that
Japan ranked the second from the bottom in Asia. The overall score was
settled at 126th among 151 countries but speaking section was the lowest
in the world. This is the reality. It has recently been said that Japanese
people do not even speak in Japanese, but the fact that it proved Japanese
people do not speak well both in Japanese and common language in the world:
English. There is no doubt that this is very, very serious because the
rest of the world has drastically been getting more global day by day.
However, there are several reasons why Japanese people cannot speak and
they are hugely related to its teaching style in schools. Most Japanese
schools teach pupils in one-way: the teacher just speaks to students. That
means students are not allowed to express their ideas or not required to
discuss the topics in class. Students are mostly evaluated just based on
test results, and performance in the class is not as important for them.
On the other hand at NIC and Lakeland, students are always required to expose themselves as well as acquire knowledge and information. In doing this, critical thinking and participation always are central in learning. Students and their teacher exchange their knowledge, analyze evidence, express ideas, and discuss the issues each other. This kind of learning style enables you to apply what you learned to what you can do. Critical thinking and Participation will give you confidence in exposing yourself.
Second, NIC and Lakeland give you "learning in earnest". It stretches your capability and unchains your limit. You will study so hard, and I remember students told me about "tons of homework" explaining how hard they are studying. In general NIC has about 1.4 times teaching hours as Japanese universities and your average study hours will be about three times as Japanese university students. "Shinuhodo Benkyo Suru–studying like dying" is very popular word among NIC students and it finally gives you more confidence. Some parents often tell me that they had never seen their children sitting and studying the whole day before, but they now see them studying and ask them "Are you alright?" It will naturally be a part of your life. By doing anything in earnest, you will have genuine satisfaction and have a full life. This is the time for your eyes to start shining.
Third, sharing experience will enrich your personality. You will share many things with teachers and colleagues in classes and it will give you a variety of perspectives and will enable you to know and respect differences of each other. Although most students say they made lifelong friends at NIC, this is because they respect their differences and they are all studying in earnest.
As mentioned above, by becoming able to expose yourself, being confident, knowing your unlimited potential, and sharing experiences with your colleagues, you will be able to have strong mentality and an open mind as well as intelligence. In this process you will encounter "a new you” that you never knew. This is truly exciting. This is why your eyes shine.
Last year Dr. Murakami (an internationally recognized DNA professor) told us in his speech that we have 60 billions of cells but do not use most of them. He explained that these are just sleeping. In order to wake up these cells, you need to have laughter, fun, and impressions. These movements of your feelings unleash your potential. I think this is also why NIC and Lakeland students become active and shining through their studies. Every year we have many students who are working as newspaper students in order to pay tuition fees but we never see their troubled faces in spite of their hard work. They are always smiling even though they sleep only a few hours every day. This is because they share their experiences and joy of learning with others and have already moved forward to their dreams. Likely, I have no doubt your each step of effort will be stored up and definitely lead you to your way.
By the way the Japanese national baseball team won the WBC a few weeks ago. You might remember Ichiro made a timely hit in the extended inning of the final game against Korea. He commented "I've got it, you know. God descended on me." I was deeply touched at that moment and he surely seemed god was with him. Before this game, he was not able to make hits so often and was criticized by the media because of their too high expectations on him. However, he never gave up even though he felt too much pressure and pain in mind. He somehow proved that gift will definitely come to you if you keep working hard and never give up. Similarly, I recalled Thomas Edison's words “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Likewise I have an experience in my life that I have cried and shouted, "God, help me please." It was when I lost my daughter, and it was more like the world was coming to an end. I had no idea how I should live without her and I had just devoted myself to my work falling on me one after another. Looking back, however, I believe that god truly helped me somehow because I never gave up and even worked harder while crying. And I finally broke through it and now I am here. I always keep in mind that I try never to give up, complete things to the end, and await destiny doing all I can do. Your journey may also not be in peace, but it will be wonderful. You will experience various joys and pains in your life, but all of them are "gifts" which were given only to you. Whenever you try your best, something great will happen and certainly give you immeasurable joy and growth. This is also the true charm of studying abroad.
We wish you will work in earnest, meet your "new self", find your mission, and contribute to the society as a leader in Japan and the world. We, the faculty and staff, promise you to support you as long as you keep trying your best.
Again, congratulations on this wonderful day to your new journey.
Mr. Fessler, Dr. Ellis, Dr. Hirota, Dr. Nagai, university administrators,
faculty, family members, friends, and, most important, incoming students
of Lakeland College Japan and the NIC International College in Japan:
Today you are about to take the first step toward becoming Global citizens. This is an adventure that will prepare you for life in the 21st Century. It will not be easy. Studying a foreign language is never easy. Studying in a foreign language and a foreign culture challenges our very conception of who we are. But you will be better Japanese because of this experience, more aware of the strength and beauty of your own culture.
Nevertheless, this experience will change you. You will learn that other societies – other cultures – have different ways of seeing the world, of taking in information, and of processing and acting on information – of feeling, processing emotions, and reacting emotionally. This is the intercultural experience that international education will give you. This experience will teach you that human society is rich with variety, but united in its humanity.
You will expand your capacity to see and act in the world in different ways. You will see with pride your own culture through others’ eyes, and you will become global citizens of an interdependent world.
And this is important because the challenges of the 21st Century are different from those of 20th Century. In the 20th Century each society was supposed to take care of itself. Nations competed, whether on the sports field or the battlefield. In the 20th Century it was OK to stay home and work to better one’s own society in isolation from the rest of the world.
In the interdependent and integrated world of the 21st Century what Japan does and what America does matter to each other and to other countries. The current global economic crisis shows us that we all are in this together. We can no longer just compete, but must cooperate and collaborate. We cannot address the problems and opportunities of the 21st Century alone or in isolation from each other. We must work together around the world to restore our environment, rollback climate change, share scarce resources, prevent pandemic diseases, and create well-being for all.
Never before have we needed Global Leaders more -- leaders who can use multiple perspectives to address the 21st Century challenges and opportunities. By choosing an international education you have chosen to become a Global Leader.
Lakeland College and NIC will guide you through your learning and intercultural experience. Your parents and friends should be proud of you for taking this step forward into the world. And they should be confident that you will be enriched in knowledge and wisdom by it.
Your study will be difficult. You will have days when you will feel defeated. But you will have more days when you are exhilarated. It will get easier as you go along, but may seem daunting at the beginning. I ask you to keep one idea with you at all times: Yes, I can!
Many of your senpai who have graduated from Lakeland College or been sent to other U.S. colleges or universities by NIC are now contributing to society. They are providing the bridges of collaboration across the Pacific that will enable the United States and Japan to work together and lead the world toward a better life in the 21st Century.
Together with them we can say: Yes, we can!
College in Japan ならびにLakeland College Japanの新入生の皆様、おめでとうございます。
これからの勉強は大変なものとなります。時には落ち込む時も有りますが、それ以上に喜ばしい気持ちになる事の方が多いでしょう。挫けそうになる時も有るかも知れませんが、時と共に慣れ、学びを完遂する事が出来ると信じています。そして、常にこの言葉を胸に秘めて努力を続けて下さい。それは、“Yes, I Can!、私には出来る”と信じる事です。
そんな先輩達と共に世界に向けて呼びかけましょう。“Yes, we can!、私たちには出来る”、と。
Dr. Ellis, Dr. Hirota, Dr. Nagai, distinguished guests, new student members of the Lakeland College Japan and NIC International College in Japan, ladies and gentlemen.
In the early 1950’s less than 40,000 students from overseas were studying in U.S. colleges and universities. Most of these students traveled to the United States from a relatively limited number of developed western countries in North America and Europe. Now, just sixty years later, the number of international students pursuing degrees in the
United States has increased to well over a half million.
Even more remarkable than the rapid growth in the number of international students in the United States is the national origin of those who choose this type of education. To an increasing extent, students seeking an international education are from developing countries and non-western nations throughout Asia. A high percentage of these students are from India, China, Korea, and Japan.
While the United States continues to attract the largest numbers of overseas students to its shores, this transnational migration of students from one country to another is clearly a rapidly growing global trend. Currently well over a million persons travel abroad each year in search of their university or college education. Although in the words of Thoreau you have chosen to “keep pace with a different drummer” - not in step with your more traditional school companions –- you should know you are the lead element of a global trend which will expand within the next few decades to more than five million persons seeking a higher education from overseas colleges and universities. You are by no means alone as one who has chosen to keep pace with the growing movement toward global education.
To be certain, an international education presents unique challenges. You will be learning a new language very different than your own. Moreover, you will be learning in a whole new way designed to challenge the agility of your mind and to assist you in working in a collegial way with others. You will be learning in classroom and out-of-classroom settings to solve problems in a new ways and to see the world from an entirely new perspective – a perspective unknown to students who have chosen
the more traditional educational path.
While learning in this way will be challenging, the ultimate destination makes the effort worthwhile. The path of international education will bring you to a place where you will be better prepared and better equipped with the skills and understanding necessary to deal with emerging global economic, social and political challenges.
The educational path upon which each of you have embarked, will position you better than anything else you might do, to assist your nation and its people in meeting these emerging global challenges. You will have the abilities and the knowledge to see beyond national boundaries, to define questions with greater clarity, and to understand the competing interests which must be reconciled if we are to live and work together in global harmony.
But will you be successful? That - ladies and gentlemen - is a question which is solely in your hands. What I can tell you is that all of us in the Lakeland College learning community are absolutely confident in your abilities. If you allow it, we will be your guide, your pathfinder and your support as you keep pace with music which you hear – however measured or far away it may be. Our experience with many who have gone before you has taught us that, if you are truly dedicated, if you are prepared to work hard, if you are willing to open your minds to new ideas and ways of approaching problems, you will succeed.
On behalf of all of us in the Lakeland College community, I extend my good wishes to each of you and wish you every success as you embark upon this life changing journey.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY LIKE JAPAN?
WHO CONVINCED YOU THAT FLYING OFF TO A FOREIGN LAND WHERE EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT WAS YOUR BEST PATHWAY?
WHEN DID THIS BRIGHT IDEA OCCUR TO YOU?
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
AHHHHHH THAT’S EXACTLY THE REASON – YOU ARE THINKING.
THINKING OF YOUR COUNTRY AND ITS FUTURE.
THINKING OF THE WORLD AND WHAT LIES AHEAD.
THINKING OF YOUR FAMILY’S HOPES AND DREAMS FOR YOU.
THINKING OF YOURSELVES –
YOUR EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS AND CAREER GOALS.
THINKING OF THE THINGS YOU KNOW YOU MUST DO,
NOT JUST TO MAKE YOUR WAY IN THIS WORLD
BUT TO MAKE THE WORLD YOUR WAY…
KIND AND JUST
SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE
RESPECTFUL AND INCLUSIVE.
THE SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL NEED ARE INSIDE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. THE FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS OF THE NIC INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF DRS. ZUKIE HIROTA AND KYOSHI NAGAI WILL HELP TO BRING THEM OUT AND WILL ADD TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF SELF AND THE WORLD.
YOU HAVE TAKEN THE IMPORTANT FIRST STEP BY GAINING ACCEPTANCE INTO NIC. THE INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE WILL DEMAND THAT YOU CALL UPON YOURSELF TO HAVE COURAGE, PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE. THESE THINGS WILL BE KEYS TO YOUR SUCCESS AS YOU PURSUE A HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM.
BUT NIC WILL TAKE YOU EVEN FURTHER. MY OWN UNIVERSITY IN RENO, NEVADA AND THOSE OF MY COLLEAGUES WILL ALSO REQUIRE GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS, A WILLINGNESS TO SPEAK UP AND SHARE WHAT IS IN YOUR MIND AS WELL AS TO LISTEN AND CONSIDER THE VIEWPOINTS OF OTHERS.
MY UNIVERSITY IS LOCATED IN WESTERN UNITED STATES WITH A RICH HERITAGE OF INDEPENDENCE AND EXPLORATION. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE PREPARING TO DO WITH THE OPPORTUNITY YOUR FAMILY HAS GIVEN TO YOU – TO BECOME A WORLD CITIZEN WHO HAS MANY EXPERIENCES, LISTENS TO MANY VOICES, DEVELOPS A BROAD PERSPECTIVE AND ARRIVES AT YOUR OWN THOUGHTS.
YOUR HIGHER EDUCATION ABROAD WILL BE ENHANCED AS THE NIC INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE HELPS YOU TO CULTIVATE A CULTURAL CURIOSITY. A GOOD THINKER GOES FORTH INTO THE WORLD TO SEE THINGS FOR THEMSELVES.
FOR EXAMPLE, YOU WOULD BE CORRECT IN SAYING THESE ARE HARD TIMES FOR OUR COUNTRIES AND AROUND MUCH OF THE GLOBE, BUT I MUST SHARE WITH YOU THAT IT IS ALSO AN EXCITING TIME IN THE UNITED STATES.
YOU WILL COME TO US IN AN AGE OF SIGNIFICANT SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION AND OPTIMISTIC RENEWAL THAT IS FAR MORE POWERFUL AND LONG LASTING THAN THE ECONOMY.
IT CAME ON THE SHOULDERS OF A MAN WHO SHARES HIS NAME WITH THE SMALL FISHING VILLAGE OF OBAMA, JAPAN. HIS PERSONAL STORY DEMONSTRATES THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF OUR INTERNATIONAL DESTINYS.
AS YOU KNOW, THE FIRST WORLD LEADER TO VISIT HIM IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AFTER HE BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WAS YOUR OWN PRIME MINISTER TARO ASO. OUR LEADERS KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ALLIANCE. YOU KNOW THE VALUE OF OUR PARTNERSHIP.
YOU ARE NOW GLOBAL SCHOLARS OF THE NIC INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE.
SOON YOU WILL CARRY YOUR CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE OVERSEAS TO CONTINUE THIS VIGOROUS LIFE OF THE MIND.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SIT AND THINK. OURS IS AN AGE WHICH IS PROUD OF MACHINES THAT THINK AND SUSPICIOUS OF PEOPLE WHO TRY TO IGNORE IT!
IN THE END, YOUR OWN OBSERVATIONS AND FIRST HAND EXPERIENCES WILL HAVE TRANSFORMED YOU INTO THE PERSON YOU THOUGHT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE.
CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK
そのような世界を作り上げる能力や知識は皆さんの内なる心の中に秘められているのです。廣田代表と永井理事長の下でNIC International Collegeの教授陣やスタッフが、それらの能力を引き出し知識の糧へと変貌させるのです。
皆さんの国際人としてのスタートがNIC International Collegeで始まるのです。そしてNIC修了後は引き続き活力溢れた海外での探求を続けるのです。
Good morning. And for all of the students entering NIC and Lakeland College: Congratulations! We are about to start a whole new life, having embarked on a journey towards the world, full of ambition and hope.
Let me guess…you’re probably thinking, “WHY IS THIS GIRL HERE. She sounds like she’s all ready to go.” Well…not really. I can tell you, pronunciation is not everything. You need skill. Good skill. Plus confidence and determination. And that’s what I lacked before discovering NIC.
Let me tell you a bit about myself. I moved to California when I was just seven years old. The first few days were just dreadful. I couldn’t understand anything; I couldn’t even tell the teacher I wanted to go to the restroom. Let me tell you this one episode. There was a girl…I still remember her name, Antonique. She was always asking me, “Can I borrow your pencil?” At the time, I had no idea what she was saying, and I just nodded every time. She never gave them back, so, quite a few of my pencils were disappearing, but I didn’t know why. It’s funny, but that’s an example of how low my English level was when I entered the US.
Time progressed, my skills improved, and then I had to go back to Japan. That was when I was thirteen. I had no problem fitting in, but I was starting to have yet another problem…I was forgetting my English. While most of the people at school still idolized me, “the English speaking girl”, and thought I was so smart and could do anything, inside, I felt miserable.
After graduating junior high, I went to a high school that was really advanced in English. Two thirds of the students were returnees, like myself. After going there for three years, my English did improve a little. But I wasn’t satisfied at all. I definitely had no confidence. I didn’t even have the courage to just visit California during vacation because I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to speak English like I used to. I know…you think I’m a chicken. But I just felt so unprepared, both mentally and in skill.
So I just simply chose to go to college in Japan. I thought, “Hey, maybe I can go abroad while studying there. But soon I realized it was the same situation. I was just postponing the problem I didn’t want to face. That was when I looked through an NIC pamphlet that was lying on the table at home. I had ordered it some time before, without knowing exactly what it was. But I read it, and saw the sparkling smiles of students at NIC working so enthusiastically towards their dream of going abroad. And I said, “This is it. This is the kind of place I need.” And it was that fast. What I was missing was a bridge between my current English and the skills needed to be successful at university.
Let me share with you my dream. I want to become a research scientist. I especially like learning and watching behaviors of mammals because their way of life is so simple yet perfect, and it always fascinates me. In the future, through my career, I hope to come up with a new, efficient way to help people coexist with nature without further damaging it.
We all have different dreams and purposes, which is what’s great about people. If we were all destined to do the same thing, how boring would life be! Our job is to find what interests us most, to pursue it, and then to do what we really enjoy. The first step is always the hardest one to make, isn’t it? But I made it. WE made it. And I’m here, the same girl who had no confidence, is standing before you ready for the challenge, excited by what I can accomplish through NIC and beyond. Class of 2009, dream the impossible and make it happen.