Meet FIN Intern: Anna Matsuzawa

Meet FIN Intern: Anna Matsuzawa

Meet FIN Intern: Anna Matsuzawa

Hello! I am Anna, a 17-year-old high school student, and have just started my new two years journey at UWC Maastricht in the Netherlands. I came from Japan, and this is my first time staying in another country for this long period.


Back in Japan, I had been attending a private girls’ only catholic school for over 10 years and grew up in a very traditional and comfortable environment. I had lovely friends and I adored my previous school, but last year, I made the biggest decision I have ever made in my life to study abroad and applied to United World College which is the two years high school for selected students from all around the world and provide those students to spend time together in a diverse environment to become change-makers. Now I am dispatched to one of the UWC and developing myself in this new environment every day. Why did I make this decision? What are my goals? Let’s get started from my childhood.


I was a very active and caring child since I have a wonderful younger brother. I loved outdoor activities and talking with people, as well as observing people. When I was little, my parents helped me learn English. At first, it was something that my parents want me to do, however, when I was 9 years old and first joined the Sports Camp of America, which is a sports camp held in Japan every summer with the undergraduates from the U.S. as the counselors, I fell in love with learning other cultures and getting to know new people. I started to learn English very actively and have been having a strong passion to go abroad in the future. Also, the Disney princess movie “Frozen” made me interested in international things. From this movie, I first found out that my name “Anna” is recognized in many languages, and I became more confident at talking with people from other countries and started to enjoy watching movies from other countries. Moreover, I have had the opportunity to study French since I was 7 years old. My school was originally established by French people so because of that I was able to get along with European cultures through learning French. The experiences that I could have in my formal school made me who I am today and I appreciate the education that I got, not only academically but also how to be a good human being; morality.


My passions for hobbies lay down in various fields. My biggest hobby would be movie and stage performances, both watching and performing. I really like to watch movies, especially ones outside of Japan, and more than that, I love Musicals! Even though I have never seen the actual stage before, I always listen to the songs and sing those songs. Thus, one of my biggest dreams is to visit New York and watch Broadway musicals! I first started listening to these songs or watching movies to learn English, however, from time to time, that became my excuse to do these things. I joined the English Musical Club when I entered junior high school, which creates original musicals every year and presents them at the school festival. I experienced club leadership as well as all the jobs for creating musicals, and from those experiences, not only I develop my interest in performing and creating stage, but also I have got wonderful peers that I can be proud of and I acknowledge the importance of working together towards the same goal and how to be a good leader. Since my time as a club leader was when the COVID-19 had just started, it was very difficult for us to keep up what we wanted to do, however, I overcame the difficulties with my flexibility, caring insights, and strong passion. Now, I am a part of a club in this new college, and enjoy creating a stage with people from all over the world. I am also taking a film class, which was inspired by our new work during the COVID situation last year; we made a movie instead of doing stage performance in my previous school, and I am nurturing my interests.

My other hobby is doing Japanese calligraphy. I started to do this when I was 7 years old as an after-school activity. I really enjoy this because it is interesting to know the culture behind this, and I like to think about how I can balance the letters and make the works prettier. Now, it is not just a hobby but it is my way of thinking. What I want to indicate from this is that by doing calligraphy, I am able to feel relieved and think about many things in a calm, and positive way. Also, it is a very good way to express Japanese culture.

Generally, I also enjoy outdoor activities. I love to run, swim, play basketball, camping, and climbing mountains. During last October break, I went for more than 400 km cycling with my friends throughout the South Netherlands and explored dutch life. It was a very good challenge for me because I have to maintain my physical and mental health by myself, and we have to act as a team and constantly think about surrounding things, such as food, money, and so on. I like how I can develop by doing outdoor activities. I am planning to do hiking as a school activity next year and I am very thrilled to participate in that!


My motto is “ rather than a complaint about the darkness, you will be the one who turns on the light” from Mother Teresa. This quote is a big part of my life and has supported me in many situations. I encountered this quote when I was in elementary school and since then, this quote empowered me. Not only this quote, since I had been learning important morality from Mother Teresa herself, but I was also very influenced by her. Two years ago, during summer, I decided to visit India to get to know the reality of poverty and think about my purpose in life. In India, I went to Delhi, Agra, Kolkata, and Varanasi. However, the main reason for this experience was to do volunteer work at Mother Teresa’s house and feel the real sense of her life and interact with other volunteers from other countries. The experience was unexpected and made a strong impact on me, that I realized we have to know something to change the world and to know that, we have to physically experience that. I was shocked by the reality and after coming back from the trip, I started to constantly think about those who are suffering from unsafe living environments. During the bad COVID-19 situation (still, now many people are suffering), I spoke up in my previous school to gather clothes masks and send them to Mother House to share love and hope to keep living. I learned how important it is to speak up and think about what we can do for others. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to study in this school, and improve myself to become a person who can actually change the world.


In this internship, I really would like to improve my knowledge, plan something from scratch, engage with people to make a change, and many other aspects to accomplish those things. I am very excited to have this opportunity and make this a beneficial time. In the future, I would like to study public health or education to improve the living environment in developing countries. I am convinced that this opportunity will be an unforgettable one and a big part of my life. Nice to meet you and thank you very much for reading this!