Breanna Goudeau '18 to study peace in Japan this summer
Little did Breanna Goudeau know that enrolling in an elective art class would open the door to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
In mid-May, Goudeau '18 was accepted into “Hiroshima and Peace,” an intensive summer program taking place August 1–9 at Hiroshima City University in Japan. The nine-day program immerses its participants in cross-cultural perspectives of wartime experiences, including the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, while exploring issues of world peace in today’s era of globalization. Breanna and her fellow students will visit the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum, participate in the traditional Peace Memorial Ceremony, and be honored with the rare opportunity of meeting atomic bomb survivors.
Christina Spiker, visiting assistant professor of art history at St. Kate’s, attended the same program in 2009 as a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine. The program was a transformative experience for Spiker, who brought what she learned in Japan back to her teaching.
“The program really changed how I felt about WWII and it forms the basis of how I teach “Global Japan and Global Visual Culture,” said Spiker. “It changed the way I approach Japanese history and see visual culture.”
While teaching “Global Japan: Art, Anime and Visual Culture,” Spiker recognized a certain familiar spark of passion in one of her students — studio art major Breanna Goudeau — and encouraged her to apply for “Hiroshima and Peace.”
“I think Bre’s such a good candidate because at the end of the day, it’s not a typical abroad program. It’s about more than just experiencing culture, it’s really about these deeper issues,” said Spiker. “The focus of the program is not just Japan, it's this collaboration between countries. I think that’s why Bre’s story spoke to them — they’re looking for the stories of a really diverse group of students.”
One of approximately fifty students selected internationally, out of a pool of both graduate and undergraduate, Goudeau was ecstatic when she found out in May that she was accepted into the program.
“They probably get hundreds of applicants, if not thousands, who are super passionate, and they chose me out of all those people — it felt really good,” said Goudeau.
Community engagement: from local to global
The name Breanna Goudeau may sound familiar — she organized and hosted a forum with Multicultural and International Programs & Services (MIPS) after the 2017 presidential election to create a safe space for discussion of the election results. Goudeau’s commitment to community has led to her involvement in a variety of organizations on campus. Here at St. Kate’s she participates in Black Student Association, African Student Association, PRIDE Club, and is a board member of Volunteers in Action. In short, it’s safe to say that Spiker was spot-on with her appraisal of Goudeau.
“I love community engagement — that’s what most of my life has been about. I find it very vital,” said Goudeau.
In addition to her passion for community involvement, “Hiroshima and Peace” attracted Goudeau because of her love for Japanese visual arts.
“I’ve always been fascinated with cartoons and anime and manga,” said Goudeau. “They put me in a better place.” She hopes to create art of her own that replicates that feeling for others. Goudeau is also a participant of this year’s Women’s Art Institute Summer Studio Intensive.
Preparing for her first time abroad
After the program ends, Goudeau plans to stay an extra week in Japan in order to experience as much as she can during her first trip abroad. She’ll be sure to document her travels with pictures and videos, and hopes to share her experience with St. Kate’s when she returns.
Goudeau is eager to seek out authentic food, capture Japanese architecture through drawings, go to museums, and — admittedly — visit tourist attractions. What about rest, you ask? Goudeau joked, “I don’t know if I’m going to sleep when I get there because I’m just going to be so amazed.”
By Amy Mullowney '19