Ugandan High School Student’s Experience Studying Abroad in Japan
Promise, from Uganda, studied abroad at Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School on a scholarship from Ashinaga. Not only did she attend classes conducted entirely in Japanese, but as a member of the Shishi Taiko (Lion Drum) club, she also learned the traditional Japanese art of taiko drumming. The club’s performance would usually be held in front of an audience, but due to COVID-19, the performance was recorded and made available online. We asked Promise about her thoughts on studying abroad and participating in the Shishi Taiko club.
“In 2006, I lost my father. My mother raised me, my six brothers and, sisters by making and selling artisanal crafts. At the time we were living near the Ashinaga Uganda Rainbow House, in Nansana, just outside the capital Kampala. At the Rainbow House, I looked forward to meeting other children who had a similar background, and I started attending the care program offered by the Ashinaga Uganda Rainbow House on the weekends. It was there that I learned about the High School Study Abroad Program. The thought of studying abroad in Japan, all alone, was very intimidating. Still, I gathered up the courage to take on the challenge, and after writing the admission essay and undergoing the interview, I was accepted to the program.”
Sendai, where I’m spending my high school life, is a beautiful city with many traditional events like the Tanabata Festival. I love it here. I don’t even mind the cold winter weather anymore. I’m used to it now.
Shortly after entering Sendai Ikuei Gakuen high school. I joined the Shishi Taiko club because I was fascinated by the rhythm of the Japanese taiko drum performance by the senior club students. I couldn’t speak Japanese very well at the time, but the club’s senior members were very kind and thoughtful as they taught me how to play. It was thanks to them that I was able to persevere without quitting. I learned how to play the drums by watching and imitating them. In Uganda, I was used to seeing drums played with bare hands, but here the taiko drums are played with drumsticks. Four days a week, I had club activities, and I would also practice at night in my dorm room, using cushions to avoid making too much noise.
Then we started working on a video of our performance. We had to re-film it three times in the scorching August heat to get the best recording of the performance. A flutist accompanied us, and it made the performance sound lovely.
Thanks to Ashinaga-san, Ashinaga’s donors, I was given a fantastic opportunity to study abroad in Japan. After attending my high school’s political economy class, I became interested in economics. I am trying my hardest to study economics at a Japanese university after graduation next spring. Please continue to support me! I am genuinely grateful to all Ashinaga-san from the bottom of my heart.
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