Academic Programmes

International Programme

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  4. Student Voice
  5. Mason


  • Name: Mason
  • High School: Dwight School Seoul
  • Nationality: Korean/American

Who are you and what is your background?

Student Voice

My name is Mason Haglund. I'm a second-year GBBA student, half Korean, half American. I took DP credits for 2 years at an international school called Dwight School Seoul, in Korea.

What led you to choose Japan for your studies?

When I considered my universities, I knew that I had always wanted to go somewhere abroad. I didn't want to go back to Korea.  I didn't want to go back to the States and I wanted to try something new. So, I tried to look for different countries. A representative from NUCB came to my school and I got interested. I thought being at NUCB could be a good opportunity because both my parents currently live in Korea, so I could go visit them anytime I want.

Have you ever faced any challenge when settling into Japan?

I didn’t have much problem because since I was a kid, I very often visited Japan. My Dad’s friends live in Tokyo so when I came here, they helped me to settle down.  Regarding the cultural differences, I had it easier because Korean culture is very similar to Japanese culture, being both Asian so I didn’t have much problem with settling in here but it was more of just being independent and living alone. At first, I had some struggle but after a while, the friends that you meet help you a lot.

Do you miss your home country sometimes?

Every day! This might be due to the coronavirus situation but sometimes I really miss Korea, and I want to go out and meet my friends. I really miss California, I just want to go and drive to the beach and hang out with my friends. One thing that I do when I miss Korean food is to visit a Korean restaurant just in front of my house. The owner is a native of Korea and she helped me a lot when I first moved here. The small interactions that you have with people from your country bring you a lot of feeling like you are home. Even if Japan is not your country, interacting with locals and learning the language is a way to make you feel like you belong here.

What did you like about being an IB Diploma Programme student?

The IB Diploma Programme will put you into an international environment,  which will help you to be open-minded. Growing up with two cultures, I thought that I was open-minded. And then when I went to an international school, I started meeting people from all over the world. I started to realize that there was so much more that I could understand. That helped me a lot when I came to Japan, I was prepared to be more open about different cultures.

What qualities are needed to pursue the IB Diploma Programme?

I would say self-confidence. Business management class required me to give a lot of presentations but in front of people, I was very shy. I had a lot of problems presenting in front of a class and one time the teacher came to me and taught me how to be more confident about what I am saying. Once I really realized that, if I just knew what I was talking about, I could stand for 15 minutes and I had no problem. IB really taught me how to present myself in front of other people and it helped me a lot to be prepared for university.  I think that the IB Diploma Programme is very up to date. While I have always felt that the knowledge that I learn at a regular school couldn’t really be implemented in my social life or in real life in general, in the IB Diploma Programme, a lot of subjects that we talk about in class are very relevant.

What advice would you give to young students who arrive in Japan for the first time?

I would recommend trying to interact with a lot of people, as much as possible. Locals and foreigners who have lived here for a long time so that they can show you around so you have more of a sense of what this country is about. Try to figure out what you like about Japan and what you don’t because you don’t have to like everything about this country. There is no perfect country and obviously, there are going to be a lot of things about Japan that you are not going to like but you will have to accept that. Find something that you really like about Japan and focus on that.