Darius Kawewehi portrait  

Hometown: Ewa, Hawaii

College: College of Engineering  

Major: Mechanical Engineering

I am among the first generation in my family to attend a four-year university, leaving the islands of Hawaii and traveling to Indiana to achieve an education and commission into the Navy. Being half-Japanese myself, I have always sought to travel the world and especially to go to Japan and embrace my heritage firsthand. I have studied Japanese for four years now, but my learning did not end in the classroom. Studying in Tokyo, Japan this summer, I am finally able to fully immerse myself in the language and the culture. 

My time abroad has been an invaluable experience and truly has been a dream come true. While in Tokyo, I speak Japanese in my classes from morning to afternoon. Studying in Japan has given me a unique opportunity to use what I learned outside of the classroom as well in simple but necessary interactions, such as ordering food at a restaurant, asking for directions, and speaking with Japanese university students. Tokyo provides a great environment, a juxtaposition between the traditional and modern amid the hustle of busy pedestrians getting to and from work. Yet the scene flips once one enters the site of a shrine or temple, abundant here, where people take advantage of the peace to reflect. 

In the fall of 2015, I will be a 4th year student in the Naval ROTC program at Purdue. As a future engineer and officer in the United States Navy, it is crucial that I have international experience and an ability to create exchange with other cultures and languages. This experience will allow me to make future decisions as a military officer while considering the values and perspectives of other cultures.  Also, the military prizes those who can speak another language, especially a critical need language such as Japanese, since Japan is a U.S. ally, and I will most likely be stationed abroad. Japan and America have a close working relationship when it comes to engineering as well, exchanging new technology and innovations. While engineering is a global field with universal ideas, it is the ability to communicate these ideas across cultures that allows the designs of engineers to be used globally. 

In short, having this experience abroad has already molded me into a more valuable engineer, cultural ambassador, and future engineer. After serving my time in the military, I plan to continue in the field of engineering and eventually study international relations for my master’s degree. In the future, I hope to go into Foreign Affairs, helping to build diplomatic relationships. It is through meeting other people that I have found the true value in life, which is to share one’s life with others despite the challenges we may face in life.

 

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