Santa Monica College (SMC) graduate Daniel Zarate has been awarded a $10,000 Bridging Scholarship for Study Abroad in Japan by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ).
Zarate, who earned his Associate degree in Business Administration at SMC, was one of only 79 undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the United States to receive the AATJ scholarship, which is sponsored by the US-Japan Bridging Foundation.
Zarate is now a student in Tokyo at Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ), the oldest and largest foreign university officially recognized by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. He credits his Japanese language instructors at SMC for encouraging him to go study in Japan, and is especially grateful to Professor Keiko Tsurumi for helping him define his goals and being “instrumental in my success and aspirations.”
The Japanese program is the second largest – after Spanish – of the 15 language programs offered through the SMC Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.
Raised by his Salvadoran mother who is a truck driver, Zarate said that when his parents arrived in the U.S., everything was a new experience for them. “I want that same experience,” he said. He chose SMC because it was about an hour’s commute away from his home, and because the college tops in transfer rates. I have only been in Japan for a short while and have a long road ahead of me, but I have already grown so much personally and professionally. Most importantly, I want people to know that I am living proof that striving for any dream is worth it because it is possible. Zarate has also set another goal for himself: to be part of the organizing committee of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, to be held in Tokyo in 2020.
Daniel Zarate—who was awarded a $10,000 Bridging Scholarship for Study Abroad in Japan by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ)—also mentored John Adams Middle School students through SMC’s Brother-to-Brother mentoring program while he was a student at the college.
- Submitted by Grace Smith, Santa Monica College Public Information Officer