From Albania to Zimbabwe: Belonging and Displacement

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.51.13
A snippet of my Digital Narrative project

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!

Hey readers,

I hope November has been treating you well. For me, Providence has been providing us with very erratic weather, so I really dont know how to be adjusting to the fall and the impending winter (as you can tell I’m really afraid of the cold)….

ANYWAY, this week I wanted to share with you a class that I’m in, called Belonging and Displacement: Cross Cultural Identities. This class is a First Year Seminar (FYS), which is a capped course where only 20 first-years are allowed to take the class. This class however, has 25 students because there were SO many people wanting to take it. And taking this course for over two months now made me realize why this class is so popular.

The course is basically a very intensive reading seminar where we study and read novels, short stories and poems about the immigrant experience, living with multiple identities and cultures, and moving to new places. We are assigned one reading a week and we discuss it in depth. You could call it a very elaborate reading circle I guess. I thought this class was SO applicable to my life as an International student – living between two cultures (America and Japan) and not quite fitting into either mould. This balance of two or more identities is something that we have been discussing quite a bit in class.

Right now, I am working on a project for the class called the Digital Narrative. Basically, we have to narrate our lives through a 3 minute video of photos, audio and video clips. I am collecting photos from Tokyo, some photos I’ve been taking here and other videos that explain a little bit about my life. Doing this project has made me realize how much I miss Tokyo but also happy that I’ve started my college life abroad.

Courses like B&D have constantly reminded me of the greatness of putting yourself outside your comfort zone, but in a way that makes you reflect on the places, people and experiences that you can call ‘home’.

So dont be afraid to live and start new experiences. Brown is a great place for you to start this journey.

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 akira_camargo@brown.edu. 

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