By Daichi Mitsuzawa
Before describing Sussex and how much it helps international students like myself, I will refer to my scholarly background and the reason I chose to study at Sussex. My major in Keio University, Tokyo, is international relations and security studies focusing on European countries, especially the UK, Japan-EU and the US.
My Scholarship could be explained by macro studies, because it mainly focuses on the relationship between countries with territorial sovereignty. Said countries have a variety of population in terms of religion, race, and so forth. For example, the UK being made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island, and the various communities in which different people live their regional lifestyles.
Due to this broad characteristic, I decided to learn anthropology. Now, I study human culture from a micro view, examining motives and reasons human groups display certain behaviors. I believe this helps me understand international relationships far deeper to obtain a fair view for all people. I myself, have a hypothesis that world conflict is constituted from a lack of objective awareness among differing people and communities.
My change in study parallels a change in location; a practical way to comprehend relationships in a place where a range of diverse people co-exist. For those outside looking into Brighton and Sussex University, ‘seeing is believing’. I decided to study anthropology here as to test this premise, as well as to expand my knowledge of differing communities within the diverse society of Brighton.
I can’t lie, every single day I have been in Sussex has astonished me in terms of culture and sense of values. I mainly spent Sussex life with a small friendship group of international students and British students. The former becoming a friend group during the anthropology classes, the latter, friends made as flatmates living in Kings Road student accommodation.
Simultaneously with study, I could experience an input/output of anthropological knowledge and understanding of humanity profoundly through my time with these groups. For instance, as to transnational identity (having multiple national identities), I learned that they could lead to a more generous world for diversity in race and culture, etc. However, they might tend to feel a sort of loneliness due to not having a “mother country”.
The reality of this class hypothesis validates much of the knowledge passed down by my teacher. Spending time with other international exchange students, and friends, illuminated this notion for me. They sometimes lamented a feeling of loneliness tied to this topic. Under this circumstance, living in Brighton has been fulfilling, as a location with many experiencing the same pressure.
My friends and I have thoroughly enjoyed Brighton life. This includes pubs and clubs, as well as meeting lots of people from different cultural backgrounds, connecting to them and finding our place among the city. Since many others live as a small part of a diverse city, it lends some resonance to the feeling of diaspora, and finding a comfortable space to express feelings and connect with others who are in similar situations.
Regarding these feelings, I consider how Sussex University and Brighton living has contributed positively to me as an international student in a foreign land. In short, I believe they have. Freshers accommodation puts different people of different backgrounds together, despite a language barrier. As for Brighton, accommodating a new lifestyle in a community of diverse origins has comforted me greatly. We’re all together, outsiders living harmoniously within.
What is more, is the university boasts lots of classes connected to global studies. It is essential for insight to be objective in view of other customs, utilizing the approach of international relations. Many people are increasingly aware of international relationships at this university. Overall, as it is for the city in general, everyone has a welcoming aura, a lack of prejudice and spite.
In many ways, Sussex University and the city of Brighton mirror each other with an integrative atmosphere. It is well known that Brighton is the city of perception in terms of race, nationality, sexuality and so forth. People can have differing beliefs and argue openly without irritation (most of the time). There is an all-encompassing, perceived respect for diversity and variation. That is why I believe many international students are attracted to enroll and live as part of such an amazing and vibrant environment.
Nowadays, I believe people should have respect for differences such as race, gender and LGBTQ+ lifestyles. This is spreading slowly but surely, all over the world. Brighton, in my view, should be the capital city of such a trend, heralded as the perceivers and accepters of life in all its form. People who study at the University of Sussex have a confidence from living and learning here, immersed in an accepting and beautiful atmosphere.
I myself have a confidence from my experience studying anthropology, here. It has been necessary for me in respecting variety and diversity in the University of Sussex and across the world. It has been an experience I will take with me to my future, consolidated by an environment rich with acceptance from people of all lifestyles and backgrounds.
Image credit: Eric Hossinger