High School: American School in Japan
Has Lived In: Japan, US
Alyssa is a psychology major who is a TCK, born to a TCK (US/Japan) father and a Japanese mother. She was born in La Jolla, California where she lived for eight years. In 3rdgrade, Alyssa’s family moved to Japan, where both her father and mother had spent a majority of their lives. They moved because of her father’s job, and as a result Alyssa ended up attending elementary, middle, and high school at two international schools in Nagoya and Tokyo Japan. Her family still lives there today, and while she still hesitates when answering the question “where are you from?” she responds that Tokyo is her home.
During her senior year of high school, Alyssa was introduced to the term TCK in a psychology class and began to think about her identity as a TCK as well as a Japanese and American. Until then she had always thought of herself as 3/4 Japanese and 1/4 American, but she began to realize that while in Japan, many Japanese people didn’t see her as Japanese, and while in America, many Americans didn’t see her as American. Going to an international school for most of her life, Alyssa was surrounded by other TCKs who all shared the same experience. Therefore, she never though that belonging to multiple cultures was different. But once she stepped outside of her high school, she was reminded of her identity. Japanese people would always be surprised she could speak Japanese and English, and Americans were always surprised she had no accent even though she was Japanese. The feeling of not belonging to a single culture bothered her, but by talking to her family and coming to Lewis & Clark, she has learned to embrace her bicultural background as it has allowed her to think from two different cultural perspectives as well as allowing her to bridge gaps between the two cultures.
When applying to college, Alyssa had heard that Lewis & Clark had a great program that helped TCKs and international students transition to college and America. Upon arriving, she was amazed by how many other international students were attending the college, and she knew she would have a smooth transition when she saw that there were other students coming from Japan as well. Coming to college is the first time Alyssa has lived in America since she was eight years old. At her international high school, she often mixed languages when talking to her friends, so she has also never spoken so much English in her life as she does at Lewis & Clark. In college, Alyssa loves to hang out with other international students as well as teach others about the two cultures that she comes from. In her free time, Alyssa likes to go downtown and hang out with friends, and she also loves cooking rice for her friends in her dorm. In addition, Alyssa loves to travel, meet people from other cultures, and hear about their experiences coming to Lewis & Clark or anywhere else in the world. Lewis & Clark provides many opportunities for everyone to share their cultural experiences with others and Alyssa really appreciates that. While it can sometimes be confusing and tough to think about her identity, Alyssa is very grateful for her TCK experience.