3. INTER-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
One great advantage of playing varsity sports in an international school is the tournament that takes place at one of six schools, half of which are schools from different parts of Japan and the other half in different parts of Korea. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to travel to Seoul as a part of the varsity football/soccer squad. Despite my expeditions trip in freshmen year, this was my first time traveling to another East Asian country, other than Japan where I live. Similar to Japan, South Korea is a first-world Asian country, much smaller in size compared to Japan. However the culture and language is quite different, with very minor similarities in behavioral patterns.
We were housed by a player from the host school, and my three day stay consisted of playing soccer and indulging in Korean culture such as eating Korean food. What I found most engaging about the experience was not the soccer tournament – It was experiencing and learning a new culture. I was proud to able to comfortably greet in Korean by the end of my stay – even if this may seem like an obvious skill to be able to acquire, I believe it is a big step toward indulging yourself in the culture. Being able to communicate your basic mannerisms shows that you’re making the effort to connect with the culture and the people, a crucial first step into inter-cultural communication. Attending the tournament was given to us as an option at first, given that it involves extra costs to cover travel fees. Despite missing some classes in school, we as international students should take this as an opportunity to be able to embrace our inter-cultural privileges, to become better communicators globally.