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What is Grand Welcome? It is one of our most important traditional events where newly joined residents and other residents interact with each other and get to know one another. Grand Welcome is arranged and run by the RAs who fully understand the concept of U Share and what daily life is like there. All the residents are expected to participate in this event. It is conducted in English, our primary language. At Grand Welcome, residents have opportunities to talk to each other through fun activities, which helps them have a good start to a new semester and their life in Japan.
We delightedly welcomed new residents from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, America, and Ukraine this fall. All the residents were very excited to meet with each other. Grand Welcome 2023 Fall started with an icebreaker as usual. After that, Masa, one of the co-founders of U Share, gave a speech to residents. He shared his own stories of studying abroad and his dormitory life at Harvard, emphasizing the importance of challenging yourself to try new things. Following his speech, the U Share Resident Office gave an overview of the concept of U Share, the rules of living together, and the educational programs U Share offers.
After the morning session, residents went on a city tour. The purpose of the city tour is to help residents get to know more about the Nishi Waseda area so that they can start their new life at U Share more smoothly. The city tour was not just a typical tour but a scavenger hunt-style tour. Participants were given tasks to complete and visit some of the designated locations and take photos as part of the game (the picture at the top of this article is one of many they took). They cooperated and enjoyed walking around the town of Nishi Waseda, which is student-friendly, diversified, and provides easy access to other cities in Tokyo.
The afternoon session started with indoor activities. We played several different games, including Drawize and Heads Up, but the most popular one was Werewolf. Residents enjoyed Werewolf the most because they already got to know each other by that point and they played the game by taking into account the personality of each fellow resident. After a fun time, they took time to share their respective lifestyles discussing with their suite-mates points that are important to them when living together, such as whether they want the dishes in the sink washed immediately, whether they throw the garbage out frequently, and whether they are night or morning people. They had a valuable opportunity to consider how they can come to compromises and respect each other to make each of their lives more comfortable. “Living together, growing together” is the motto of U Share, which also places great importance on human growth in this kind of communal living environment. We hope that our residents will acquire these skills through the experience of living together in an international community at U Share.
The last activity of the day was, of course, a BBQ party on the rooftop. Fall is one of the best times to have a BBQ party since the weather is perfect with the autumn breeze and you can see a beautiful view from the rooftop. Participants enjoyed not only food and drinks but also talking with new friends they made on that day. They seemed nervous in the morning, but at the BBQ, they laughed and had fun being in each other’s company. We look forward to seeing how they will color the U Share community with their mutual bonds and individual characters.