国際文化学科の新任教員挨拶 No. 3 ～グローバルな背景をもつプラザ・タロン先生～
Hello. My name is Taron Plaza. I am originally from California in the United States. My family came to the USA from Europe. My father’s family was from Spain and Portugal and my mother’s family was from Denmark, England, and Germany. I have a lot of different nationalities in my family tree, even some Native American.
Growing up in California, I was exposed to the international community at an early age. I had friends from all over the world who spoke many different languages. In high school and university I was active in international clubs which welcomed students from overseas who wanted to study or do homestays in America. These club activities allowed me to further expand my understanding of different cultures and the evolving global community.
As an undergraduate at the University of California, I studied biology and cultural anthropology and my interest in different countries and cultures led me to travel the world. After university, I spent extended periods of time in India, Nepal, Thailand, The Bahamas, Taiwan and, of course, Japan. Once I moved to Japan and began living and working here, I developed an interest in linguistics. I wanted to know how people learned languages and what could be done to help them learn better. This interest led me to my graduate studies at Columbia University where I studied TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
One thing my studies and travels have shown me is how small the world really is. With modern communication technology, we are all connected and are all participants in one global community. The study of foreign languages opens us up to discovering just how amazing the world is. My advice for students would be to keep an open and curious mind and discover as much as you can. Cultivate an international mind and strive to understand what you can contribute to the world. Each of us has unique gifts that can help to make the world a better place. Your time at university is an excellent chance to find out just what your unique gifts are and how to develop them.