Meet Iraqi-Japanese Communications Major Linda Kuniyama

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Linda Kuniyama

Linda Kuniyama in a traditional Japanese kimono

My name is Linda Kuniyama and I am a student at John Cabot University. I was born in Basra, Iraq to an Iraqi father and Japanese mother, but due to the war in Iraq my family was forced to flee to Japan, where I spent the majority of my childhood.

I struggled to fit into Japanese society because there were few biracial children and I did not speak Japanese. I was often confused by my Islamic background and my Asian heritage, which represent two totally different, conflicting cultures. I then went on to live in four other countries: Singapore, where I learned English; New Zealand; the UK; and the United States.

I returned to Japan and worked as an interpreter, but my dream was to continue my education. I found out about John Cabot University through an advertisement on a student website and asked for more information. Two years later, here I am majoring in Communications and loving Rome, Italian culture, fellow JCU students, and professors. In particular, Professor Stefano Arnone has been incredibly influential. I am an adult learner and adjusting to my classes at John Cabot was challenging, but Professor Arnone believed in me and encouraged me not to give up. I feel at home now at John Cabot and want to encourage everyone not to give up, regardless of your background and age. While fitting in was a challenge in Japan, at JCU my biracial background is celebrated. John Cabot University has allowed me to find a home where I am able to fit in, believe in myself, and work towards my degree.

Although I spent half of my life in Japan, I am proud of my Arab background. My two completely different cultures are amazing and beautiful and because of that, I consider myself very open-minded and fascinated by other cultures. For me, this photograph highlighting my Arab features while wearing a Japanese Kimono is a symbol of internationalization.

Coming to John Cabot University was definitely the right decision for me. JCU has given me not only an excellent education, but also an opportunity to meet more people from different backgrounds. JCU welcomed me and made me happy that I never gave up my dream of continuing my education.

Learn more about studying in Rome at John Cabot University.