Changing The World: Opportunities For Growth Through Exchange
Thomas Koizumi & Kiana Stewart
Thomas Koizumi and Kiana Stewart participated in the Semester Abroad Program together in Japan during the first semester of academic year 2019. Their paths to the program were unique. Thomas is an Electrical Engineering / Cyber major, and Kiana majors in International Relations. Thomas grew up speaking Japanese in the home, while Kiana, having taken Japanese in high school, continued to develop her language skills by creating an independent study with the Japanese exchange officer at West Point. Together, they attended the Japanese Military Academy for a semester, and taught their hosts as much as they learned, creating a forum for the exchange of ideas between other international cadets and the Japanese cadets and officers.
In this interview, Thomas and Kiana talk about their family backgrounds, and discuss their semester abroad in Japan. Kiana highlights other Advanced Individual Academic Development experiences she’s had, and explains how they’ve opened her eyes to the possibilities for creating international dialogue between cadets from all over the world. They offer analysis of the differences between leadership styles taught at West Point and at the Japanese Military Academy. Both Thomas and Kiana describe a very moving and emotional visit to Iwo Jima, where they returned to the island sand that had belonged to a Marine who fought there. Finally, they reflect on the importance of Margin of Excellence Programs and the opportunities provided by the Association of Graduates, and they finish by describing what West Point means to them.