• Haruka Kokaze

Reflecting on Who is Actually Globally-Minded




I always believed that I was globally-minded. I was born in Hyogo, Japan, and grew up in Tokyo, New York, Houston, and London because of my father’s international job. However, my trip to San Francisco with the National Millennial and Gen Z Community challenged my understanding.

I was faced with many challenges, especially, during the Coffee and Campbell Soup challenges that took place in Napa Valley. These specific challenges allowed me to gain valuable lessons on acting as a team leader, while feeling the pressures of leadership in crises, solving problems effectively, communicating with professionals, and learning to stay calm throughout the process.

However, If I had to choose one lesson to emphasize, it would be how I learned that living in diverse cities across the world and having friends from many countries will not make one a globally-minded individual.

Growing up in various cities, I’ve had the privilege of attending international schools and meeting friends from across the globe, even from Ethiopia, North Korea, and Kosovo. Therefore, I always believed that I was globally-minded, and that I stood out, among others, because of my diverse experiences.

I made friends from Alaska, Mississippi, and Alabama for the first time. I also made friends who have never flown on a plane, took more than 24 hours to get back home from San Francisco because they live in a rural area, or have parents who have never had schooling beyond elementary school. I was not only surprised by some of their stories, but I was touched by how quickly all of us felt comfortable sharing our different experiences—finding ways to connect our personal stories.

After countless conversations with my new friends, whether they happened on the bus to America’s oldest Italian restaurant or at San Francisco International Airport’s food court waiting seven hours for the late-night flight back home. They helped me realize that I, as the daughter of a multinational expatriate family, have been in an urban bubble and rarely paid much attention to grassroots ideas nor tackled problems from a uniquely domestic viewpoint.

I hope people around me with similar backgrounds and experiences who believe that they are globally minded, and think they know so much more than others simply because they live in diverse cities realize that some of the most important and genuine conversations can occur on a smaller scale in intimate communities.

I now strive to become both an empathetic and globally-minded leader who is aware of cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences outside of the urban bubble, proactively fosters conversation, encourages collaboration, and yields opportunities for humanity.



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