The following is a guest article written by Akylai Imanalieva, a student at Waseda University. Imanalieva enrolled in the inaugural SPICE/Waseda Intensive Course on Sustainable Business and Social Innovation which was organized by SPICE and Waseda’s School of Social Sciences and taught by Meiko Kotani. SPICE will feature several student reflections on the course in 2023.
I believe that the world is full of opportunities, particularly for people from less developed nations like my own, Kyrgyzstan. And I truly believe this since I consistently pick up new skills from others around me and from the situations I run into in my everyday life as an international student in Japan. Due to various factors, the knowledge I have gained in Japan is far more extensive than what I would have acquired in Kyrgyzstan, yet it is still insufficient or not quite perfect for the personal goals I hope to accomplish in the near future. I want to be a social innovator in the education field, and I want to change the world.
My desire for improving higher education and equal access to quality education in the Kyrgyz community stems from my own experience as a child growing up in a developing nation. I value education highly and believe that it is essential for living a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, my inability to completely express myself in Japanese and have in-depth discussions with people whom I look up to and who share my ambition to change the world prevented me from achieving my goals, which call for a different sort of knowledge and comprehension. The “SPICE/Stanford-Waseda Intensive Course on Sustainable Business and Social Innovation” was extremely useful because it helped to close the knowledge gap and advance me toward my personal goals.
I gained a lot of important insights from Kotani-sensei, the distinguished guest speakers, and my fellow classmates during the course. They encouraged me to think creatively and to value the particular insights I have on the world due to my particular upbringing and experiences. I realized that every individual is special because of the way we each have interacted with the world, and our strongest sources could be our own experiences, both pleasant and terrible. Those insights reminded me that any experience, good or bad, greatly influences us as a person as well as the trajectory of our life, and you should approach those experiences with gratitude because you never know how it will influence you.
The realization that there is no right way to experience or live life, in my opinion, is what I've learned most. Many of our distinguished guest speakers emphasized their own experiences, curiosity about the world, and the significance of their positive outlook in leading them to where they are. And this particular knowledge is the motto that I want to keep in my mind for the rest of my life.
This intensive course offered by SPICE/Waseda helped me discover my potential and provided me with the chance for both academic and personal improvement. As a student from Kyrgyzstan, I felt incredibly privileged to have been given the chance to broaden my understanding of the world, evaluate my personal beliefs, and reflect on my dreams to become a social innovator.