Name: Shunji Ukai
The place(s) I call ‘home’: Japan
Class year : 2012
Major/Intended Major: Anthropology
Why I chose Grinnell: I was interested in liberal arts education. Back home, we need to choose our majors when we enter college. But how do we know what we want to do when we are 18? Grinnell lets me explore my interests and find new ones.
How I spend my time: Whenever I have free time, I practice the violin, ukulele, or conga. When I came to Grinnell I was far from musical, but now I cannot live without it! I think music will become my lifelong commitment! Also, I play soccer in the International Soccer Club. I think soccer is one of those universal languages that just "makes sense" to all the fans in the world! Finally, I read supplementary books for my classes. Especially after entering college, I really started enjoying reading. The things I learn in class are too interesting for me to simply stop thinking about when the semester ends!
A highlight from my time here: ISO Cultural Night. Students from around the world practice their performances for this night. The performances ranges from traditional Romanian folk to Korean rap. I performed a Japanese pop song with two other students.
My favorite class (so far): Anthropology of American Culture. This class deals with the complicated issue of "American-ness." What is race? What is culture? We discuss the history and and the intricate issues of this simple word "American." I realized in this class that words like culture, identity, diversity, and relativism are not simple concepts that can be understood easily. This class gave me an opportunity to give serious considerations about what it means to live in a diverse community like Grinnell. I became an Anthropology major because this class was so life-changing.
Three words that describe 'my' Grinnell: learn, find, explore
My advice to new or aspiring Grinnellians: When you feel like you found something that motivates you, engage in it! Many of those interests will expand and become a huge part of your life. If you think something is not interesting, look for something else! There are many opportunities in Grinnell, I assure you that something will captivate you!