With financial help from the IIE Emergency Assistance Fund (supported by the Freeman Foundation) following the March 2011 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, Sakurako Ujiie was able to continue her academic program at Oregon State University:
"Through 2011 to 2012, I worked as a Resident Assistant at University Housing & Dining Services. I helped incoming freshmen, including international students like me, by assisting them as a medium of Oregon State University. In the Spring term, I attended the graduation commencement, even though I still have classes to take during fall term. I am graduating from OSU soon, and I am currently looking for an internship in America to challenge myself and develop what I have learned through my college years.
I am from Fukushima, the area hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami. I have lived there most of my life until I came to America. It is simply the best place on earth and I will always call it home. But, because of the disaster, many people have negative images of Fukushima. I would like to say that these images are false. The triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear, hit us hard. We will be dealing with challenges for years to come, but I am optimistic for three reasons. First, when we are knocked down by difficulty, we stand back up. Second, we are more united than ever; men and women, young and old alike. Third, and perhaps most important, we are not alone. When the earthquake happened, I was in America. I was frustrated because I felt I couldn’t do anything to help people suffering from the devastation in Japan. But I have seen many people here supporting and praying for Japan.
It was humbling to see the huge public support for tsunami relief efforts around the world, including the IIE grant. I would like to say thank you again for the support."
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