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Lakeland University Japan News

Catching Up with LUJ Alum Shun Arai - A.A. 2020

Catching Up with LUJ Alum Shun Arai - A.A. 2020


Catching Up with LUJ Alum Shun Arai - A.A. 2020

“One of the most important ideas I want to convey, if I can, is that everything happens for a reason.” – Shun Arai

In September 2018, Shun Arai entered LUJ’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program looking for direction and purpose. “I was always curious about English vocabulary,” Shun recalls, “and tried to read as many English books as possible.”

His curiosity rubbed off on many of the students in Reading class, and his drive to improve impressed the LUJ faculty. “Arai-san had a real spark of individual creativity,” says LUJ professor Mr. Valdorian Cline, noting his incredible “ability to make connections from apparently disparate points,” while remaining “polite and cordial to the people around him.”

After earning a high TOEFL score and vaulting into LUJ’s Undergraduate program, Shun kept that curiosity, excelling in his Composition and Humanities classes. “I remember him for the depth of his thought and his genuine thirst for learning,” recalled LUJ Humanities Professor Dr. Iskra Gencheva. “One of Shun's works in my classes, which convincingly demonstrates that, was his research on two of the oldest European universities (University of Bologna and University of Paris). In his research, he stated that the history of those universities ‘is the beginning of men’s endeavor to seek the truth.’ With his own academic achievements, Shun proved that he follows that noble tradition. Truly an inspiration!”

It was through his extensive reading that a passion to understand the human mind soon developed. Earning high grades in his LUJ classes, Shun was accepted by the University of Victoria, in Canada, and chose to major in psychology.

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The University of Victoria. Photo by Shun Arai

Starting a new life in Canada was not easy at first. “I thought when people said studying abroad was difficult they meant academic life was hard, so I thought I would struggle to obtain passing grades. However, it was not academic life that was hard; what was hard was finding a place to live.”

Indeed, it took perseverance and ignoring a few irrational reasons for rejection to find the right landlord. And once he did, Shun settled in to a life filled with learning guitar and continuing to discover new books. One book that has impacted him immensely is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, a memoir of the Holocaust.

And, this summer, Shun will earn his B.A. in Psychology. After graduation, he’s planned a trip to Mallorca, but after that, his future is, truly, an open book.

He does have some practical advice for students just getting started on their own journey. “It might be a good idea to talk to whoever sits beside you in class as it is the best way to make new friends and because everything happens for a reason—whatever higher power, or “somebody up there” makes that particular person exist at a particular place at a particular moment for you.”

As for himself, when he looks back at his time in LUJ’s EAP, he can still remember how his curiosity drove him toward a brighter future. “I don’t want to lose that attitude and that motivation.”