I first heard about the Resident Assistant position when I was 15 from my Mukogawa host sister. My family had hosted host students, and I knew since then that I was interested in becoming a MFWI RA. When I became an RA right after graduating high school, I never knew how much it would change my life.
Being a Mukogawa RA is very different from being an RA in an American dorm and a lot easier. I never had to worry about problems like students having drugs or alcohol, or having boys over, and the RAs are all well loved by the students. We are their first American friends, living with them like family, and helping them with problems like real sisters. They love to talk with their RA and introduce us to their culture. When a student opens up to me and shares her feelings, it makes me feel grateful to be their friend and I have made many lifelong friendships with these students. The students are very respectful, kind, energetic, and tidy. When there is a problem or I have to ask them to do something, they listen very well and are very respectful. Being able to live in harmony as a group is very important to Japanese people, so it is easy and fun to live in a dormitory with them.
My daily life at Mukogawa is very lively and fun. In the morning, I ride the bus to my university together with other RAs! All RAs live together on campus, so many RAs often go to school together. If I finish school before lunch time, I will go back to Mukogawa and try to eat with my students. I often talk to Commons staff at the Cafeteria and chat with my students. After lunch, sometimes I work at my part time job. RAs can work in the library, which is a good job to meet new students and students can practice their English with you. After I finish work, I text my group and we go to dinner together. I always enjoy the walk to the Cafeteria and talking during students during this time, but sometimes we sing or race while walking. At dinner, if it is a weekend, sometimes we stay late and watch tv or play in the Loft. On Group Time nights, we will go back to the dormitory and I will plan my group time.
My favorite group times to do are Easter Egg Hunting, Secret Santa gift exchange, playing mafia, and making smores. After group time, there is free time and the students will go to sleep early, do homework, or hang out until Roll Call. We do a lot of fun things in our free time at the dorm like watching movies, cooking Japanese and American foods, playing card games or video games together, doing group exercises, and painting nails or talking all night.
RAs also take the students on outings around Spokane and Mukogawa. Many RAs take students to their house, which is often one of students’ favorite outings. I love taking my students to my house, Coeur d’ Alene, The Milk Bottle, and Laser Tag. RAs also get to go to events with students. I enjoy going to Silverwood, the Shrine Circus, Greenbluff Pumpkin Farm, and Disney on Ice.
Not only is Mukogawa made up of amazing students, but all of the people working at Muko also make this campus a very caring and wonderful community. I have become close friends with many other RAs, and since the RAs live together (2-6 in each house), it is like I have new Japanese and American sisters! We can talk and relate to each other because being an American RA at an all-girls Japanese college is such a unique experience. I also had the opportunity to work in Mukogawa’s library and administrative office and interact closely with more Mukogawa staff. I love my boss, the bilingual Advisors, the Homestay Coordinator, Commons cafeteria staff, Maintenance, Housekeeping, and all other Mukogawa staff! Everybody is so kind and doing their best to take care of the students and the school.
Before coming to Mukogawa, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college. After I started working at Muko, I realized that I loved teaching and working with international students and that led me to major in Teaching English as A Second Language. I saved up to go to Japan in the summer and I studied at MWU head campus in Japan. Going to Japan was the most amazing experience of my life and it really changed my perspective as an RA to have the situation turned around and have my students teach me about Japanese culture. Sometimes I felt stressed when I was living in Japan, but because of that, I could understand how my students felt living in America. Without my experience at Muko, I could not have had any of these wonderful experiences or met any of these wonderful people. I think my life would be very different, so I am incredibly thankful to be where I am now.
I’ll never, ever forget my time at Mukogawa. Working at Muko was a significant point in my life that led me to many new opportunities, amazing people, and a bright future. I can’t imagine my life without Muko and I don’t want to leave this place. It has become like my second home. I love Mukogawa!!!
– Maya F.