Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
What was your biggest fear post-TGS graduation?
Not knowing whether what I was doing was the right choice. I was quite overwhelmed and uncertain about my decisions and especially about how my whole gap year would look like. But choosing to let go of the high expectations I had set for myself and focus on only one thing first, which was my internship, helped me get a hold of my fear. Everything else that follows will work out in due time.
Coolest project you’ve completed up to date?
Probably getting to interview several individuals of a successful Saving Credit Union cooperative composed of members from a cluster of villages. It was a three-day field trip and it was the first time I had a chance to conduct research without any supervision, so I was free to structure and design it as I wanted. Being out in the field, interacting with the locals and seeing first-hand how a cooperative in microfinance works was definitely my favourite part of doing the internship so far.
Learning how to fly an ultralight plane. I am already getting to see a different side of my home country and it is absolutely breathtaking. And humbling.
Greatest skill/lesson learned in TGS?
To remain flexible and adaptable, open to change.
What do you miss most about TGS?
A one-of-its-kind-community made up of diverse people with their own dreams and ambitions. I think it’s quite change-inspiring that a community like this just works. The quality conversations I had with both staff and students and the friendships I won are truly what I am most grateful for. They made me learn a lot about myself too.
What makes you most excited for the future?
So many things! I make way too many plans that I don’t end up sticking to… But that’s the beauty of it, if an idea pops up then it is ultimately up to myself to turn it into reality or not. I think that is why a gap year is exciting in itself, just because you don’t know in advance where you will be, what you would end up doing. But to be concrete, I would say working on a large scale collaborative research project in the non-formal education field for my next internship.
Any shout-outs? Tips? Life hacks?
School wise, set minimum expectations for yourself so that you don’t overstress during the IB – that is what certainly has helped me stay calm during exams. You have to prioritize what you want to get out of your time at TGS, because you will never live through the same kind of community again. I had three; my relationships, character development and passing the IB. Oh, and travelling (but c’mon, that’s why I was there in the first place).
Don’t be afraid of uncertainty and changing your plans – most of the time, things will turn out differently. Getting from A to B is not going to be a smooth-running line you planned it out to be, but a long winding curve with different stops and surprises along the way. Don’t get stuck on what the end result should look like – live in the process, that is where the real personal growth unfolds organically.