Looking Back to Look Forward
Meghan Sikes - Tachi kid 2005
My Tachi experience was completely life-changing. Living abroad with a family in a country much different than my own was an overwhelmingly rewarding opportunity. We were shown the utmost hospitality, taken to many different amazing places, and met a plethora of people who showed us great kindness. We went to all levels of schools, met the mayor of Tachikawa and Omachi, saw their countryside, cities, temples and festivals. We were fed real Japanese home cooked meals, traditional dining, not the stereotypical sushi or tempura every day. By far this was the best way to experience Japan's culture because we were more than tourists; we were treated like family and friends. Before I went to Japan, my college and career plan was to go into marine biology. This was easily torn down and replaced by a new ambition: international relations. Choosing to go to UCSB, I picked global studies as my desired major, with a regional focus on East Asia of course. I started taking Japanese and have returned to Japan to study abroad for a semester. This experience gave me the confidence and drives me to do more travelling and studying. I have also studied abroad in China for a summer and visited Korea and Thailand just this past summer as part of my exploration of Asia. The Tachikawa Sister City experience has sparked within me more than a new found understanding of a foreign country, but an overall yearning and aspiration to work overseas, meet many new and different people, and truly understand how globalized our world has become and can potentially be.
I cannot thank the Committee enough for this awesome opportunity I was given, and words cannot express my gratitude to my Tachikawa family for making me a part of their home.