PhD student of Kinesiology-Physical Education / College of Education and Human Ecology / Department of Human Sciences

The time I spent in Japan as part of the Ohio State University and University of Tsukuba exchange has transformed my life. The meaningful memories made in Japan with other Ohio state students was amazing, but what truly enriched this trip was meeting, learning, and sharing with the TIAS and Tsukuba students.  The kindness shown to us through interactions, tours, and cultural experiences were inspirational and I will hold them in my heart for years to come.  Experiencing judo and  Kyudo was not only fun, but a cultural immersion of respect, tradition, and honor in each respective discipline. One extremely memorable event was joining the activity class with the physical education undergraduate students.  As a PhD student studying physical education, this experience was extremely valuable to me.  The universal language of play allowed all of us to work together to accomplish tasks and play games as we laughed and shared with one another. The friendships I made during this 10-day trip are ones I will cherish for my life time and will serve as the beginning to collaborations of research and education. 

  Another important highlight of this trip was spending time in Tsukuba, Ibaraki and living in a smart city.  The idea of and design of the smart city forefronts inclusion for technology and different abilities at the heart of city planning, this is something I had never experienced until this trip. It has made me hopeful for the future with examples of how to support people who are typically left out when planning a city or society; people with different physical or cognitive abilities, international residents, and all ages of residents.  Tsukuba is an example of a city for everyone, when we plan with diversity in mind, more people can experience life with ease, independence, and happiness.

   This exchange was engaging, enlightening, and more than I could have dreamed of. I am so thankful for this opportunity to travel, learn, and grow along side my fellow Ohio state students and the University of Tsukuba students alike.