JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.84

SPECIAL FEATURE

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA

The National Defense Academy (NDA) is the only academic institution for higher education to educate ground, maritime, and air SDF cadets in Japan.

NDA has promoted international exchanges through exchanges of short-term/long-term visits and acceptance of foreign cadets. NDA has so far received the foreign cadets from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Most of these cadets spend their first year studying the Japanese language and then the following four years taking the same academic courses as the Japanese cadets do. As of 1 April, 2016, 114 foreign cadets are studying at undergraduate course.

This time, we had an interview with one of foreign cadets at NDA,
Cadet Mark Jason Garcia.

1. Would you tell us what you are learning / acquiring at NDA in the classes and extracurricular activities?

I am majoring in earth and ocean sciences. I am studying meteorology as a preparation for my future career as a pilot. And for the extracurricular activities, I joined a track and field club and the event is throwing. What actually I have learned from is leadership. Why? Because you have your underclassmen, you have your juniors, you have your seniors. Seniors teaching you a lot of things. Those things that you have learned, you need to teach it to the next, to your juniors. So, you learn how to lead people.

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA
Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA

2. Would you tell us your impression on Japanese cadets?
Do you have any exchanges with them?

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA

Of course, I have. Like, I have my roommates are all Japanese. Every day I see them, and talk to them. My impressions of the Japanese cadets areā€¦ actually, general Japanese is very shy. But the Japanese cadets are not very shy. They are very active. For instance, general Japanese is very shy when they speak English, right? But my roommate wants to learn English, so I am trying to help him. I was telling him even though he made mistakes, it was okay, because he learned. And he is trying hard. In the same way, if I need help, they are helping me. It is a mutual relationship. They help me and I help them. They are aggressive in learning. They are aggressive in a good meaning.

3. Would you tell us your impression on international cadets at NDA?
Do you have any exchanges with them?

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA

I have classmates who are foreign cadets from different countries, and we have foreign cadets, who stay here for four months as a short term student. It is a good opportunity to learn new culture. I am from a developing country, Japan is a developed country, like Australia and the U.S. are first-world countries. You will realize that people have different perspectives and different ways of thinking. So, you will understand people more. You learn culture from them, and you will also understand yourself through learning what you have and you do not have. You also learn to appreciate things. That is a merit for the exchange students.

4. How will you use of your experience of studying at NDA after your graduation?

After my graduation, I am going back to the Philippines to serve my country. My goal is to become a pilot. After my pilot course. And then, my main goal is to become a Defense Attaché in Japan. I talked to an officer before who was a former Defense Attaché of Japan, and he is a pilot. He said, “If you will be a pilot, it is easier for you to be a Defense Attaché.” Here is the funniest story, I asked him, “Do you think I can be a Defense Attaché?” and he said, “By your attitude, and your personality, you will definitely be a Defense Attaché.” So, I am looking forward to, it will take years from now, but I am going to work hard for it. I hope I can be a Defense Attaché so that I can go back here and enjoy Japan again.

5. Any comments?

I have been staying here for five years, I want to treasure this moment in these five years. Days in NDA was one of the best parts of my life because I have experienced a lot, I have met a lot of people, both good people, and bad people. I mean I have learnt from everyone. In these five years of my stay here, I have developed myself physically, emotionally, and leadership-wise. And it is a very big opportunity for me which will help me in my future career in the Philippine Air Force. And yes, I will never forget this experience. As I always say, if I leave this academy, it does not mean the end or, goodbye for some time, but I am going back to this place to see those people, the same faces again. I am looking forward to that. Thank you very much. Arigato-gozaimasu.

Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA
Interview with Cadet Mark Jason Garcia at NDA
  • back
  • next