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Dolphin Tales

Exploring International Relations in The Hague

Wakana, Class of 2021, is in The Hague, the perfect place to be studying International Relations, following her passion for learning about other cultures, languages and politics!


Where are you now?
I’m studying at Leiden University in The Hague, Netherlands
What are you studying? Do you have a major?
I’m studying in the Faculty of Social Science, concentrating on a major of International Relations and Organizations. It is an amazing place to be concentrating on this field with the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court right here in The Hague, And though I haven’t been yet, I understand that I can just go there and check out the proceedings.
What has been your most favorite class so far?
The class was called Actors in World Politics. It was a class in Transnational Studies looking at the impact of not just nation-state actors but other influencers and communities, i.e., religious communities that may also play a role in world politics. And this was all through the European perspective which I’ve never considered, but find fascinating. 
What has been your least favorite class so far?
I don’t have one, but the amount of reading is really challenging. It is so overwhelming, especially compared to high school. For example, I might have to read 100 pages of a certain text to prepare for class the next day but then that is just one class! There are others to prepare for, too. Of course, time management is very important but at the same time, challenging.
What part of university life do you enjoy the most? 
I like to go to my huge lecture hall with friends and listen to the lectures from professors. The first time I stepped inside the lecture hall I was like, “oh this is my idea of what college was going to be like.”
Outside of your studies, what is one thing you are excited about or interested in these days?
I like to hang out with friends, especially for sleepovers. I just started getting out and meeting new people from the second block. I realized that I can’t just study like I did the first two months. Making friends and hanging out also helps with studying since you can share, talk, and learn a lot from each other.
What is the one thing you miss about Japan or Nagoya?
Family, food, and the language—I can’t choose just one! It is especially hard to be away from my mom, and I’ve really learned to appreciate my family. And of course food, though I can get some Asian food if I look for it. Finally, I miss speaking Japanese. There aren’t a lot of Japanese students here. Maybe it is because of COVID but there are very few Japanese. Most of my friends are European and I’m enjoying getting to know them but I wish I could fully be myself in Japanese, too.
What's the most significant difference between where you are now and NIS?
The size of the school and the much bigger community is so different for me. One course I’m in has 500 people compared to my Economics class at NIS that had only 5!
Words of wisdom do you have for your schoolmates still at NIS...
Do not forget your initial enthusiasm and never give up! It is actually a translation of a Chinese saying. Though you might get stressed out and start doubting yourself, never forget what dream brought you to where you are and appreciate your opportunities.




「Actors in World Politics (国際政治の立役者)」というクラスが良かったです。国家や政府だけでなく、その他の影響力のある組織やコミュニティ、例えば宗教的なコミュニティなどが及ぼした影響などについて学ぶ国際政治のクラスです。ヨーロッパの観点に立ったものなので、これまでの自分の視点とは全く異なりますが、とても興味深かったです。




家族、食べもの、日本語・・・ひとつには絞れません。母と離れて暮らすのはとても寂しいですし、家族のありがたみを知りました。食べものももちろんですが、アジア料理はこちらでも食べられないわけではありません。日本語を話す機会がないのは寂しいです。こちらに日本人の生徒はあまり多くいませんから。コロナのせいもあるかもしれませんが、日本人は殆どいません。友達のほとんどはヨーロッパ人なので、彼らと仲良くなるのも楽しいですが、日本語を話す日本人の自分に戻れる時があればいいのに とも思います。