On September 18th, 2020, Mr. Andrei Miguel Ronquillo graduated Sophia University after four years of matriculation at the university as a third term Xavier exchange student.
Below is Mr. Ronquillo’s reflection on his time at Sophia.
To begin this essay, I would first like to introduce myself. My name is Andrei Miguel Ronquillo and I am a recent graduate of Sophia University from the undergraduate class of 2020. I come from the island of Chuuk located in the Federated States of Micronesia so the opportunity to study and experience life here in Japan for four years has been such a memorable time for me so I will be discussing those experiences in this short essay.
While I had experience studying away from home due to attending a boarding school in high school, I had never actually lived or studied in another country bigger than what I was used to along with being away from my family so adjusting and adapting to the school life in Sophia was an experience that I felt helped push my growth as a person forward. Training myself to wake up early in the morning and take a packed train to attend Japanese class along with learning to express myself more due to classes like Public Speaking were examples of this growth. Other experiences such as learning to budget my allowance, cooking my own food, and learning to manage my time wisely to accommodate both my school and social life has made me feel more independent. Furthermore, being able to learn about many subjects pertaining to Japanese culture such as Japanese literature and the history of Japanese society has helped expand my horizons and helped me further appreciate the different people and cultures of the world. Additionally, subjects like Philosophy and Thinking Processes made me start observing and analyzing issues and questions with a more critical eye. All those aspects of growth are what made my school life here in Japan a noteworthy experience. As for other remarkable experiences here in Japan not related to school, attending a festival in Chiba and participating in the activities there such as the dances and helping fry yakitori was a great way to not only immerse myself in the culture but also to have an enjoyable time; additionally, visiting Kyoto and Osaka with my family was a nice change of pace from Tokyo and seeing sites like the Inari shrines and walking around Dotonbori was something I thought I could only experience later in my life. I am grateful to APIC for giving me this chance to study and live here in Japan which is a significant experience. In conclusion, my time studying and living here in Japan was a fun and unforgettable experience that I am certain will remain with me.
Andrei Miguel Ronquillo
The Xavier Exchange Student Support program was started in April 2014 between APIC and Sophia University, stemming from the Sophia-APIC Xavier High School Exchange Student Scholarship. The program between Sophia University, APIC, and Xavier High School appoints exchange students from Xavier to Sophia University under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three members. To date, nine students have entered Sophia University through this exchange program, and three have completed their studies and graduated.