From Albania to Zimbabwe: Right2Education

IMG_0470Hi 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!

Hi readers,

Brown is diverse. Brown is different. Seeing that we have such a wide array of people in this community, there has to be something that all 6000+ undergraduates at Brown share. Yeah, sure, most of us are probably procrastinators and are dreading the cold right now, but one other (more serious)characteristic we share is that all of us are pursuing an education.

This past week, I realized that this pursuit of education is not as common as one would think. On Tuesday, I went to an event called “Right2Education”, where students from Birzeit University in Palestine came to Brown for an education tour around schools in North America to speak about their experiences of being a student in an area of conflict such as Palestine.

2 students spoke about their experiences, mostly personal. These students were a little older than me, but have been experiencing so many hardships to obtain an education. They still have to go through long checkpoints to get to school and face violence and discrimination on a daily basis. I was amazed to see these students’ passion for wanting to become an educated citizen of the world, and want to go to school and pursue their educational endeavors.

Their humble and sincere voices had me thinking about how none of us should be taking our education for granted. And the opportunity to explore and pursue such an education is a privilege that not many people have, even today. The disparity and injustice of that gave me discomfort and made me want to learn more about the issues that continue to make the lives of these students harder. It also made me think about the concept of an “international student.” Even though this label may seem to categorize all of us into one group, this is not the case at Brown. International students, not only come from different countires, but also different backgrounds including household dynamics, socioeconomic status, and cultures.

Sorry about such a serious post, but I thought it would be a reminder about where we are coming from.

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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