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Student Profile: Yoshiya Hikita ’09

Yoshiya Hikita, an international student from Japan, values Hope’s Christian atmosphere. His father attended Meiji Gakuin University in Japan, with which Hope has had ties since the 1960s, and Yoshiya says, “My dad told me Hope College is a college with a good Christian environment. I had been longing for that, because in Japan it is hard to find.”

When Yoshiya visited Hope as a prospective student, he experienced the Christian environment himself by attending the Gathering, Hope’s Sunday evening worship service.

“It was nice to attend the Gathering. We don’t get that kind of worship service in Japan,” says Yoshiya. He also appreciated taking communion, which had previously been a rare occurrence for him.

Another factor that influenced Yoshiya’s decision to come to Hope was the Phelps Scholars Program, a program for first-year students that promotes cultural diversity on Hope’s campus. Yoshiya found it a great experience. He says, “As a part of the Phelps Scholars Program, I got to know a lot of people not only from the United States but from other countries. It was nice to build relationships with other international students.”

Interacting with other students is something Yoshiya enjoys doing at Hope. “Not every college has the environment where I can talk to anybody,” he says. But at Hope, he notes, that is possible for him. “ The people are very caring,” says Yoshiya. “And Hope College is not too big, so I can get to know a lot of people in depth.”

Yoshiya also participates in Japan Club, which hosts presentations on Japanese culture, as well as the “Images: A Reflection of Cultures” annual performance. This past year, he and another student performed a traditional Japanese skit at “ Images” and enjoyed the experience.

Although Yoshiya grew up in a Christian family, Christianity is a minority religion in Japan. Yoshiya wants to help Christianity grow in Japan, which is why he is majoring in religion with plans to attend seminary in Japan. “There are many churches who are longing for a pastor, and that struck me as God’s calling for me to spread the Gospel,” he says.

In addition to studying religion, Yoshiya enjoys the liberal arts learning to which he is exposed at Hope. He appreciates being encouraged to try other fields, such as the sciences. “One of the stereotypes of a Christian college is that religion and sciences don’t go together, but they don’t have that problem at Hope,” says Yoshiya. “God made everything, so we are meant to appreciate every part of that.”

This profile was written by Danielle K. Johnson, a 2008 Hope College graduate from Kalamazoo, Mich., for the 2008-09 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.