Alumni Voice


“Re-evaluating Grassroots International Exchange”

Yukiko Nukina

University student (Major in Economics, Minor in Political Science)

The Covid-19 pandemic posed us many important questions in 2020: To what degree does online video tool replace real human interaction? 

Does internet make the world smaller or split it more?  

As classrooms, work, family gatherings and others shift online, we become more and more dependent on the Internet and information circulating on online platforms. As we experienced this shift, what we can do online as usual and what we cannot replicate once moved online became apparent. Cultural exchange is one of the experiences that cannot be recreated perfectly when done online.

Even though it is possible to read, watch foreign dramas or use various online platforms to get to know other culture, countries and people, real human-to-human relationship that leaves profound impression on one can be hardly replaced by such virtual experiences.

The very aim of grassroots international exchange being fostering understandings among different cultures and background, the fact that there are certain generation that cannot have the benefit of, and do not have such understanding toward ‘others’ through cultural exchange is a great loss as well as a real threat to the relationship among countries and to the wider international society. Moreover, online browsing is said to accelerate one’s preference as information provided by algorithm is customized for users. All these elements make us less receptible to what is happening outside each of our respective ‘bubbles’. Even though we have great online tools that make it possible for you to see a house on the other side of the globe on satellite image, there is a risk of us becoming blind to world outside.

The pandemic made clear the importance of human interaction. For international cooperation, mutual understanding and respect is the very base and that can be fostered mostly by human interaction. Cultural exchange is a way that is very effective in this regard. Understanding a person leads to understanding a culture and country. I hope that the world after the pandemic will actively advocate for interaction, communication and exchange of opinion from different side of story, and different backgrounds. As an individual, I would like to contribute to this by actively spread my experience I got from cultural exchanges like TYCA and advocate for the meaning of such scheme.







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