Natsumi Sugiura, BA International Affairs major, Undergraduate
Photo by Ant Smith

Natsumi Sugiura

Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs


Thank you Dean Wilson for the introduction and all the time and effort you have dedicated to TUJ.

Good afternoon, graduates, faculty, staff, friends and family. It is my honor to speak to you today. My name is Natsumi Sugiura. I’m from Aisai city in Aichi prefecture.

I would like to start off by saying “We did it!!!” The happy news for graduates is that there are no more class assignments, but the sad news is that there are no more dean’s de stress days.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you so much”.

Thank you faculty members for creating an environment where we could learn, grow, and enrich our lives with your knowledge and wisdom.

Thank you to my family and my fellow graduates' families, your love and encouragement supported our journey. We stand here today not just because of our own efforts, but because of the incredible support system we've all been fortunate to have.

Thank you to my fellow graduates, your diverse insights derived from your own unique backgrounds and experiences have enriched my education. And I thank you for your friendship.

Thank you to everyone at TUJ for empowering us to chase our dreams. The diverse student body and thought-provoking curriculum produced by the outstanding faculty provided a great environment for self-discovery.

We were challenged with many complex questions over the years, including a singular question that defined my college experience, "How might we contribute to a troubled world?"

However, the pursuit of this goal at first led to frustration. Unlike what I'd anticipated, the university didn't offer pre-packaged answers.

Disoriented but determined, I turned to my grandfather's wise advice. He often said, "Growth thrives in a stimulating environment."
So, recognizing the need for practical use of my academic knowledge, I began my journey of experiential learning.

“How might I contribute to a troubled world?” I asked.
By taking positive action and becoming engaged in our community, not just critiquing it from the sidelines.

Leading as the student government's Vice President, I honed my leadership skills. Interning at CNN provided me valuable insights into the media landscape. Finally, the ICAS ambassador program brought me face-to-face with real-world issues in Japan. These experiences were all made possible thanks to TUJ.
These are small things of course, but hopefully smaller things will lead to bigger opportunities, and bigger impacts over time.

And these experiences weren't unique among the student body. Look around – our fellow graduates are multilingual speakers, artists, engineers, international scholars, and emerging entrepreneurs. There is so much talent here. Everyone is answering the question in their own way. “How might I contribute?”

TUJ has cultivated our diverse passions and honed our comprehensive skills. But it has not always provided us with easy answers.

In college, we learn HOW to learn. How to ask meaningful questions. And how to search for answers that ideally bring benefits to ourselves and our communities. Our college degrees don’t give us all the answers. But they do help us ask better questions.

TUJ has instilled in us the courage to find our own answer. Perfectionism is an obstacle. We won't always have all the answers, we are never 100% ready. But that shouldn't prevent us from taking action. The world needs our engagement, even if it means stepping outside our comfort zones.

There will always be voices of doubt. To overcome these hurdles, we must have unwavering faith in ourselves and the abilities we have honed at TUJ.

The future may be uncertain, but together, we, the graduating class of TUJ, have the potential to make our mark on the world. Because it is now our turn to ask the questions, and our turn to find the answers.

Congratulations, graduates. Today we may graduate, but let's never stop questioning, exploring, and being students of life.

杉浦 七海さん


Natsumi Sugiura, BA International Affairs major, Undergraduate
写真撮影:Ant Smith