From Albania to Zimbabwe: Culture, Clubs, and Community

JCA booth at the Annual BTS Nightmarket (the Asian culture and food festival).
JCA booth at the Annual BTS Nightmarket (the Asian culture and food festival).

Hi there! My name is Akira Camargo, a freshman hailing from Tokyo, Japan who will try to crack funny jokes and puns from time to time as I write posts for From Albania to Zimbabwe, the ins and outs of being at Brown from an international student’s perspective. Through my posts, you’ll be able to learn more about all things international here, ranging from international events at Brown (cool guest speakers, festivals and parties) to my thoughts on living in America for the first time (!!!), and a bunch of other interesting stuff as my first year at Brown unfolds. Hope you enjoy reading them!

Ever since I got into Brown, I had to check out their international clubs and organizations, especially anything that had to do with Japan. I remember walking into the Clubs and Activities Fair being super overwhelmed with the myriad of extracurricular clubs that were available to me. Any country, ethnicity, language and culture you can think of, Brown has a club for it. That just blew me away. So, I instantly looked for the Japanese Cultural Club and, low and behold, of course I see friendly Japanese students standing in front of a poster, wearing their cool happi, or Japanese festive robes. JCA, or the Japan Cultural Association is a student-run organization that allows Brown students to engage and learn more about Japan and its awesome culture. The club organizes cool events such as the Annual Haunted House (coming up so soon!), Japanese Horror Movie screenings, Japan ‘Matsuri’ (festival with lots of yummy food) and much much more.

I was so excited to be able to meet Japanese students at Brown who shared the same passion and love for Japanese culture. But what struck me the most was how the members of the Executive Board (the students who run the club) were not all Japanese. Some of them were American students who were simply interested in the culture and were maybe studying the language. That amazed me. I noticed that this diverse demographic was not just specific in JCA, but similar in all culture clubs at Brown; if you were interested in something, you could join, no matter what. No judgement, just a learning and fun experience. So, if you are just a student from the US interested in another country, say Japan (lets hope!), then you can feel free to join JCA! How sick is that?

I instantly fell in love with what JCA had to offer – the open community, the friendly E-board members, and the cool events. I had to get more involved. So, now I applied and got chosen to be the freshman representative for the club! Just being able to share Japanese culture (and the yummy food) to my fellow classmates is one of the coolest parts of the job. I’m looking forward to this upcoming year with JCA!

Being in cultural clubs here at Brown allows you to share and learn new perspectives and stories about a country/culture/language that you’re interested in. Don’t miss out on the great extracurricular activities here at Brown.

If you have any more questions, comments, suggestions of what I should write about or just want to chat, feel free to message me at Cheers!



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