Get to know the Champion, Hidekazu 

Hidekazu Fukuda

Hello, I'm Hidekazu Fukuda. I'm originally from Japan, and I spent over seven years in the United States, where I earned my bachelor's degree in Communication with a minor in Business. Following my graduation, I worked in the automotive industry, focusing on sales, business development, and market analysis for four years. After resigning from my job, I returned to Japan for a gap year, preparing for my relocation to the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, I pursued my Master's degree in Business Administration, specializing in Management Consulting, at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My program was intensely focused on preparing us for successful careers in consulting.

My involvement with Goin' began when I was an international student ambassador, now Champion at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The university encouraged us to use Goin' to further assist students. While my ambassador role already entailed guiding students in both academic and lifestyle aspects in the Netherlands, Goin' provided additional support which could further help my participation in the community.

My role as Champion in the Community

I believe my experience demonstrates my commitment to not just answering questions but empowering students to navigate their university journey independently. 

I shared my experiences, ranging from academic life to future career paths, which led many students to reach out to me for further guidance. I repeatedly shared my personal experiences living and studying in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, aiming to alleviate the concerns of students who were new to the country. During my role as a Goin' Champion, I engaged in influential conversations with a diverse group of students, spanning bachelor's and master's students from various disciplines. In the end, they greatly appreciated my input and insights. 

They appreciated the prompt and comprehensive responses, contributing to the community of Goin'. The open and transparent communication I provided helped alleviate some of the stress for students going to study at the university in the Netherlands. Goin' allowed for ongoing interactions, and some students continued to seek guidance throughout their academic year. This sustained engagement highlighted the value of supportive environments for students.

My experience with Goin', established me as a valuable resource in assisting students, making me a go-to person for advice and support in their academic and personal journey in Amsterdam. Moreover, my proactive approach to expand my network resulted in having over 30 connections within the Goin' community. 

My Motivation being a Champion

What made me motivated to help students was my willingness to volunteer, to be at the frontier of helping people in general, not just students. 

For example, besides my full-time job, I engaged in volunteer activities at a food pantry and an educational center to help students and people from different generations. At the food pantry, our clients were primarily focused on immigrants and refugees who struggled with having enough food, so I wanted to provide as much free food as possible to make them happy. On the other hand, at the educational center, I helped students harness their skills in English or mathematics, which also contributed to their happiness and success in getting to high school or college. These students often struggled with going to college independently or studying with their peers. That's why they came to the educational center for further assistance from academic supervisors or tutors like myself. Based on these experiences, I really wanted to take the next step in assisting students in the Netherlands. 

When I became a student again, I wanted to help in different ways. That's why I took the initiative to become an international ambassador at the university and share my personal experiences, including how I struggled and tackled challenges as a student. Even after graduating from the university, the ongoing connection lasts; it never stops. That's why I wanted to become an ambassador and later, Goin' Champion.

How Goin’ brings that community feeling over other platforms

Goin' Gamification and World Map Experience

In my opinion, the community was beneficial. I would say that Goin' has established stronger communities for students. For example, Goin' features communities or groups such as those for sports, housing, study, and other interest groups. Students can create their own communities, for instance, to play common sports like tennis, table tennis, or baseball. On the other hand, they can also create communities for study groups, to study together, or just to meet with friends and other students.

It’s also a great opportunity for students and for myself to get to know more about other students, to see how they are doing, what's going on with their studies and their lives in the Netherlands or Amsterdam. At the same time, when we were given other alternative ambassador platforms, I've only utilized it for messaging, addressing queries or concerns, primarily for prospective students. So my community engagement on those platforms was somewhat constrained, I mean, it's limited compared to Goin'.

However, communities on these platforms are something I really want to recommend to other students for utilization. I would recommend that other students or other Goin' champions utilize these communities proactively, to learn more about different backgrounds or disciplines.

My final thoughts before goin’

Initially I thought becoming an international student ambassador at the university was already enough to help prospective bachelor or ambassador students to seek guidance from academic to lifestyle in the Netherlands. However, I believe that utilizing additional resources, such as Goin’, to be much more valuable in helping students.