Our Students: Difference-Makers
Diversity is Our Natural Environment
For more than 60 years, our program has brought people from all over the world to work and study together. Our students come from more than 40 countries. Some have never left Japan while others have never been to Japan before, but most students have spent time both in Japan and abroad. The wide range of student experience means each student different, and for us, that means you have something unique and valuable to offer the Faculty and other students.
Classes and discussions are richer and more rewarding when they involve more voices, more experiences and more opinions. Learning from your classmates is some of the most important learning you will do at the FLA and working with a wide range of students will help you grow, not only intellectually, but also personally. Making friends with people from all over the world is part of the best education you can get.
The education we offer recognizes and develops students’ differences. We do not make our students all think the same way. Rather, we believe that diversity can bring us together as a community, and as a place where we all belong and can all get along. Because there is no ‘one right way’ to do things, nor one dominant group at the FLA, there is room for everyone. Here, there is room to be different and to be yourself. Indeed we learn from being different, and from recognizing and respecting our differences with others.
At the FLA we see these differences as a strength, and one that no other program in Japan can accommodate so well.
Sophia has exchange agreements with more than 300 universities in 30 countries, every year sending about 200 students abroad. If you keep up your grades, you too can become an exchange student and experience life and study in a foreign country. We have a variety of programs, from full year abroad to shorter programs; some are primarily study, others include service or volunteer work.
Even if you do not go on exchange, the FLA accepts 90 percent of exchange students coming to Sophia. Each year, of 1,100 FLA students, 300 are foreign students from all over the world. So at the FLA you can have an international experience without ever leaving Japan.
Extracurricular Activities: because learning does not stop at the classroom door
While we emphasize the rigor of our academic program, we also recognize that university life must be broad. Because we are at the center of Tokyo and the center of Sophia, you will have access to a wide range of extracurricular activities. These are a valuable means of getting to know students from other faculties and universities, and thus further enrich your experience. They are also a way of engaging with the outside world, of making a difference off campus, and of applying what you have learned in the ‘real world’.
FLA students participate in virtually every club on campus, from anime club and ESS to rugby and kendo. Some of the clubs are very serious, with members who meet and practice several hours a day. Other groups, usually called ‘circles,’ are more informal gatherings of individuals with shared interests. There is a Sophia sports team, club, or circle for every student on campus, allowing you to meet new people while pursuing an interest in something you love. Volunteer Activities Sophia students are active in a range of volunteer activities, helping others in need and at the same time learning about the world. They are especially involved in helping foreign causes and NPOs. Students have been active in many post-3.11 Tohoku relief efforts, while our Student Services Office financially supports these.
Explore Tokyo, a Global City
Being very much in the heart of Japan, and at the center of Tokyo, at the FLA we see how Japan is changing. Increasingly, it is becoming a multicultural society that needs its young people to cross borders and speak strongly from many different sides, both inside and outside Japan. For many of you, your first chance to do this will be when you enter the FLA.
Much of Tokyo’s charm and appeal lies in the ‘old city’ (shitamachi), in the Tsukiji fishmarket, in Asakusa festivals and Ueno museums. But Tokyo is also a global center of international finance, innovation and creativity. And, of course, it is an important site of popular culture, fashion, anime and sport. It is Japan’s gateway to the rest of the world, the point at which the influx of new ideas, different people and changing ways of life make Japan truly global. The FLA is a great place to study just as Tokyo is a great place to live.
Explore Life in Tokyo