Aika Yamaguchi ’24Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies
Posted on November 10th, 2023 by

“It is a small department compared to other departments, so it is easy to feel connected with other Peace Studies students and professors.”

An international student from Japan, Aika chose to come to Gustavus due to the opportunity that she would have to be involved in the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Department. Aika has enjoyed the small size of the department and how this has allowed her to develop close connections with the Peace Studies faculty, as well as other students. During her time within the department, Aika has had to complete difficult assignments, but she feels that these experiences have helped her become more knowledgeable and a better student. Of a conflict-mapping activity that she completed in the course Conflict Resolution, she says, “It was a challenging project, but very helpful in understanding world politics and the complexity of conflicts happening around the world”. Through the department, Aika has been given information about learning opportunities off-campus, such as the Annual Mahkato Wacipi, during which Aika was able to learn about local indigenous culture and apply what she learned to her Peace Studies courses. Aika has felt very supported by the faculty within the Peace Studies Department, especially as an international student. Her favorite professor within the department is Professor Mimi Gerstbauer. As her academic advisor, Professor Gerstbauer has supported Aika with registration, internship opportunities, and letters of recommendation. Aika is currently involved with an NGO called Accept International, which works to break cycles of conflict. Aika works for this organization fundraising and event-planning, and feels that the skills and knowledge that she has gained in the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Department have aided her abilities to do this work. Outside of the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Department, Aika is also involved on campus with Model UN, and as a Japanese tutor.  


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