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cadet blogs

Visiting the Japanese Coast Guard Academy

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo This past summer I had the unique experience of traveling to the Japanese Coast Guard Academy located in Hiroshima with two of my shipmates in order to take part in an international conference. The main objective of the conference was to bring together the coast guards of the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Japan in order to exchange ideas about how coast guard academies as well as coast guards operate and carry out procedures. I stayed in the barracks with the Japanese cadets and was able to learn about their culture through their actions and regulations. There was a cultural experience day in which I had the opportunity to wear Japanese traditional dress, play instruments significant to Japanese culture, and observe the process of making green tea. Surprisingly, there is no initial boot camp when freshman enter the academy because the freshman are already so respectful and understand the hierarchical system that the military operates by.

 

As a Government major, I had studied Japan a little bit and learned about their form of government as well as problems facing their nation such as an aging population. However, being immersed into a culture is completely different than reading about it in a textbook. The Japanese cadets were the most selfless and genuinely welcoming people I have ever encountered. They wanted to share their culture with us and took interest in anything we had to say. We discussed commonalities between academies such as cadets learning effective time management, strong communication skills, the value of respect, and the development of lasting relationships.

 

Every day, we went out into the city with our fellow coasties and experienced four level arcades, numerous outdoor malls, karaoke bars, etc. The food was absolutely excellent: okonomiyaki, shabu-shabu, momiji manju, soba tempura, udon, and many more delicious dishes! On the weekend, we visited Miyajima, home of the giant Torri Gate, which marks the entrance of the famous Shinto shrine. 2/c Neubig and I also went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, to see the Japan maritime self-defense submarines, and the Yamato Museum, which showcased World War II history. If I wasn’t a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy then I probably would have never had the opportunity to go to a foreign country like Japan, and even if I did, it would definitely cost a significant amount of money. The most noteworthy thing I took away from this experience was the importance of having an open mind and also body language when it comes to communication. Even though it was difficult to communicate verbally, the Japanese students tried very hard to talk to us in English but most of the time we used body language as the main form of communication. I am never going to forget the international friends I have made and the welcoming nature they embodied! It was truly the best experience of my life.

 

More about Jackie.

 

Prep Program Cadre...Worth Waiting For

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Mills Photo This summer by far has been the most impactful experience I have had at the Coast Guard Academy so far. The two most rewarding programs I was able to be a part of were, first, the training of the incoming cadet candidates for the Coast Guard Academy Scholars (CGAS) program and then the Marine Safety Training Program. The CGAS program sends students with high potential to preparatory school in either Georgia Military College or Marion Military Institute. I myself went through the prep program and can say it was one of the best years of my life. I met great people and got pumped to join the United States Coast Guard. Speaking of great people, I actually met one of my best friends through the prep program. Ivonne Lassalle from Puerto Rico prepped with me in 2012. We became roommates and soon thereafter best friends. We have been planning our quad speeches since August 9, 2012 for when we would one day be CGAS cadre. Our silly dreams turned into an incredible reality when this summer we were able to stand side by side as cadre. Going through the journey from cadet candidate to 2/c cadet and training the future of our Coast Guard was amazing to me. I also could not have even begun this journey without the various mentors I had through all these years. I will never forget my cadre experience.

 

The Marine Safety Training Program was interesting in a different way because I was able to see a lesser-known side of the Coast Guard that undertakes important missions. As an MES major, I really appreciated the work that the sector’s Prevention Department did to ensure that vessels met all the requirements of the Coast Guard in order to operate with minimal environmental impact. The Response Team at sector also had just the most interesting and friendly people who were passionate about what they did. I feel better prepared to enter the fleet knowing another component of our operational Coast Guard.

 

This new school year also has so much to offer! Ivonne will be away at West Point doing an exchange program the service academies all offer, and I will be guiding the new freshman (4/c) to be members of our corps. I have also decided to do a directed study where I get to work with professors to solve real-world problems in our aquatic ecosystems! The Academy provides us with so many opportunities to learn and explore. I definitely made the right decision sticking through prep school and coming to the Academy.

 

More about Sydney.