My name is Saeko Mizuta, the founder and CEO of TCK Workshop.
As a Third Culture Kid (TCK) myself I have come to appreciate my years spent living overseas, as they were the foundation of some of the most important experiences in my life.
While growing up in a multicultural environment proved to be difficult, I also recognize that these formative international experiences are what have helped form some of my greatest assets and strengths.
Fostering the ability to communicate in multiple languages is no easy task, and on top of this, experiencing cultural differences can often lead to confusion.
Personally, I experienced severe culture shock when returning to Japan after having lived abroad, and I remember vividly how I desperately tried to fit into Japanese culture by attempting to erase my multicultural background.
Among my returnee friends, there are some who were not able to keep up for years of school academics, some who could not attend school, or those who completely lost their English skills because they were attempting to fit into the Japanese society.
These concerns do not only apply to me, but to many returnees, third culture kids, and their families. On the other hand, even though there are many returnees and third culture kids in Japan, there is a lack of service and structure in order to resolve these problems.
However, once I overcame these challenges I realized that I had gained more than I had lost through my international experiences. What has truly helped me the most through my adult life thus far is not my understanding of the English language, but instead my ability to sympathize, persuade, and communicate with a multicultural mindset.
I firmly believe that exposure to a multicultural environment during one’s formative years can develop intercultural communication capabilities, which enables individuals to better cooperate with people from around the globe.
This ability not only enriches one’s life, but also is something that is needed for the future of Japan. Within the country, communication between individuals with similar minds and perception is nothing special.
However, once we take a glance at the world, there are people with different cultures, customs, religions, income, common sense etc. Countries with a set of values different from Japan are leading innovation and development, and reality is, they are the ones opening up new paths for the future.
One big factor that has led Japan to have a lack of presence in the international community is that there is a lack of people with the ability of communicating effectively with those who do not have a common background.
In reality, elites all around the world are training themselves to delivering their opinions effectively, by observing the cultural differences of each country and by observing how the world sees him/her in a world with various sets of values.
I believe that if returnees and third culture kids can grow as a “Japanese with a global mind” without having to go through unnecessary difficulties, there is no doubt that not only will that individual have a fulfilling life, but will eventually lead to the progress of Japan’s presence in the international society and better relationships between Japan and other countries worldwide.
When asked "What do you hope to achieve with the abilities you possess?" at Harvard University, I realized that I wanted to help children who have lived overseas to use their international background to pave their path towards success rather than suffering unnecessarily from these unique experiences. As a result, TCK Workshop was successfully launched soon after with this exact goal.
The management team of TCK Workshop is consisted of 3 members who are returnees, who have gone through similar experiences and those who feel that education played a big role in overcoming these difficulties.
Okadome, who has passion in education and is running a bilingual one-on-one cramming school.
Atsumi, a forward thinking individual who has successfully started up and brought profits to many companies.
We aim to break through the lack of services that support children with experiences abroad.
1985 Born in Tokyo, raised in New York from 5 to 10 years old.
Graduated Toho Girls’ Senior High School and graduated Tokyo University (Economics major) in 2007.
The same year, entered a foreign-affiliated consumer product company. As a assistant finance manager, engaged in management integration and devised tactics in cutting costs after acquisition.
2013 Entered Harvard Business School with a fulbright scholarship.
2015 Graduated Harvard Business School with a MBA.