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cadet blogs

Beautiful Japan

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2014) Permanent link
Nelson Photo Konichiwa! I am writing you from a plane somewhere between Toronto, Canada and Tokyo, Japan. Why you may ask? This past week I was able to participate in the Japan Coast Guard Academy’s International Exchange Program. It was a one-week program that included cadets from JCGA (Japan Coast Guard Academy), KMU (Korean Maritime University) and CCGC (Canadian Coast Guard College) and the USCGA. During the week, we toured their campus, sat in on a special lecture, participated in their sports time, and lived in their dormitories. It was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my Coast Guard cadet career! It was wonderful to meet and make friends with the Japanese, Korean, and Canadian cadets, and thanks to Facebook and email, I plan to stay in touch and grow my relationships with all of them. I cannot truly describe the kindness and professionalism displayed by the Japanese cadets that hosted us. They were respectful, self-discipline, warm-hearted, and at times, extremely funny! They were also very patient with us in regard to the very large language barrier.


One of my favorite experiences during the week was when my four roommates took me out sightseeing. The sights were absolutely beautiful (I took so many pictures), but the coolest part was that we all wore the traditional Japanese dress, Yukata. It was awesome to dress up with them and walk around in their cultural wear. Additionally, they had me try every type of Japanese food imaginable, and by the end of the week, I was wielding my chopsticks like a champ. My favorite was probably Ramen (not to be confused with the Kroger 15 cent “ramen”) and Korean BBQ, but there were really only a few dishes that I can say I would not eat again. I could probably spend a whole blog talking about the food, but I would just recommend you go and try it yourself. :)


While it may seem like the Coast Guard sent me to Japan for a super awesome vacation, I really felt like the trip was much, much more than that. The purpose of the trip was for each of the different countries represented to meet and learn about each other. The hope is that this sort of program will help grow the friendly relationship between the Coast Guards of Japan, Korea, Canada and the U.S., which work together on a daily basis. From my perspective, this purpose was definitely achieved. It was very eye-opening to see the different cultures that I will be working with and to learn how they operate and think. I hope to work alongside many of the Japanese, Korean, and Canadian cadets in the future, when we are officers in our respective Coast Guards.


It is programs like this that I think help build and nourish a peaceful relationship with our neighboring cultures. I will definitely take advantage of any opportunity to return to the Japan Coast Guard Academy or other exchange programs in the future. One exciting note is that USCGA is going to host four of the JCGA cadets that we met this past week, so the exchange goes both ways. Thank you, Coast Guard Academy, for allowing me this wonderful experience! As always, feel free to contact me with questions about this program or any other questions. Go Bears and God Bless.


More about Jessica.


What a Year

(Academics, Overcoming Challenges, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Ulbricht Photo One of the hardest years of our lives is almost finished. Any first year at a new school or work is going to be difficult, but more so for first year Academy cadets. Many of my shipmates have struggled academically, including myself. Some people have been proactive and worked hard to improve grades, while others just sit back and hope for the best. I personally have never been one to just sit back and watch things turn bad, knowing there is something I can do to make it better. I like to finish something, satisfied that I put forth more effort than I needed to. I feel that once finals are over, I will be satisfied that I had an overall successful 4/c year. Yes, I struggled a lot of the time when it came to academics, many people do 4/c year. But once you know you are struggling, it’s what you do afterward that matters the most. Many of my teachers have told me that they like that I come in for help, and they applaud me for taking the initiative to do that. If there is advice that I can give to incoming cadets it’s to get help. Set up study sessions with your friends, keep up on your homework, and stop by for assistance from your teachers. They notice that you are trying, and in the end will work in your favor.


Looking back on the past 10 months, this year has been quite the journey. At times I wish I could go back to Swab Summer, because at least I was getting a full 8 hours of sleep, was exercising all the time and didn’t have to do any math! In the grand scheme of things Swab Summer was not hard. Granted we did not think of that when we were going through it, but once you begin the academic year you may want to go back to Swab Summer. As a class I feel that we have had an emotional and mental rollercoaster the past couple months. Our grades were not up to par, resulting in many of us having to attend after school study sessions to improve them. This caused us to miss out on sporting events and other activities we could have been doing. We had a little mishap with our indoctrination board, and as a result of that we were not granted carry-on. After having to square a full year, it was disheartening to hear that our hard work was for nothing. If you can make it through 4/c year at the Academy, you have the strength mentally and physically to accomplish anything.


I’m looking forward to the challenges of the summer as I tackle the experience of Coast Guard life at a small boat station in Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire, and academics during summer school.


More about Cameo.