[Interview] 2022 Kempi International student Mariela Goya

Okinawa Prefectural Government will select exemplary individuals from descendants of Okinawan emigrants and Asian countries (hereinafter referred to as “international students”). The international students shall receive education and training at universities, businesses, and institutions for learning traditional arts in Okinawa Prefecture (hereinafter referred to as “universities and other institutions”). Students will be provided with opportunities to understand Okinawan history, culture, and customs, gain work experience at local businesses, and promote exchange with local people. The aim of the program is to cultivate human resources capable of serving as a bridge between students’ home countries and Okinawa, foster the preservation of the Uchinā Network for the next generation and contribute to international exchange with Okinawa Prefecture.

We interviewed Mariela Goya, a 2022 Kempi international student.

Please take a look at Mariela’s thoughts on Okinawa and studying abroad etc...

1. Home country

2. Occupation
I have a degree in Organizational Information Systems and work for a technology company.

3. Ancestor's (Uyafaafuji's) birthplace
I am a third generation Uchinanchu. My grandparents on my father's side are from Nishihara, and my grandparents on my mother's side are from Motobu and Nakijin.

4. What do you want to do or strive for during this study abroad?
I am studying Japanese (grammar, conversation, and composition classes) at Okinawa International University. I am also planning to practice Ryukyuan dance and eisa (in a university circle).
I also want to learn Uchinaaguchi and Okinawan history.

5. Favorite Okinawa word
・Icharibachodee (When we meet, we are all brothers)
・Nuchidu Takara (The life is treasure)
・Champuruu (Mixtured things/ It's mainly used Okinawan cusine name. Ex, Gooyaa Champuruu)

6. Have you ever participated in The Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival before?
Yes, I attended the 6th and this 7th Festivals.

7. How do you feel about participating in this year's The 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival?
It was really very exciting. During the parade at Kokusai-dori, we were warmly welcomed by the local people who said "Welcome back" to us with smiles on their faces. I also had the opportunity to participate in the closing ceremony with the university's eisa circle "Ryūkyū Kajimaya". It was a very good experience.

[A part of the Argentine Delegation at the parade in Kokusaidōri (Uchinanchu Festival )]

[The 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Student Summit 2022 , at the Meio University]

[With the eisa circle "Ryūkyū Kajimaya", at the Closing Ceremony (Uchinanchu Festival )].

8. How do you like living in Okinawa?
In the morning we have Japanese classes, and in the afternoon and evening we practice Eisa with Ryūkyū Kajimaya. We also hold cultural and opinion exchange meetings with young people and Okinawans.

[With the Ryūkyū buyou Ryūgeibun" group at the university festival (Okinawa International University)]

In my free time, I visit places related to Okinawan history and culture and spend time with relatives and friends. I am very happy in Okinawa!

[With Kempi students and Shi-Cho-Son(municipalities) students at an event in Okinawa City.]

9. What can you do and what will you do to connect the Uchina network after you return home?
I would like to cooperate in activities related to the promotion of Okinawan culture conducted by Kenjinkai and Okiryūkai (alumni groups in Okinawa); we would like to communicate and strengthen ties with various alumni groups at UNC, WYUA and Latin American group, and provide mutual support in various activities.

10. Similarities between my home country and Okinawa that you did not know before
The warmth and friendliness of the people on this island is very similar to that of Latin America. I was so comfortable with this treatment that I have come to consider Okinawa my second home and would return anytime.

11. What surprised you when you came to Okinawa?
The climate, especially the humidity, is hot. Everywhere is clean and orderly, but there are no trash cans on the streets. So that is normal.

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