Annelise Giseburt, a senior East Asian studies and English double-major, has been selected as the first-ever recipient of the Shansi Hiroshima Fellowship. The two-year fellowship will take Giseburt to Hiroshima, Japan, where she will work full time with UNITAR, a United Nations agency, and its partner organizations ANT Hiroshima and Green Legacy Hiroshima, two NGOs founded by Tomoko Watanabe, who visited Oberlin and gifted the college with a gingko tree sapling grown from trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
“It feels amazing to be the first Hiroshima fellow,” Giseburt says. “There’s definitely a lot of responsibility, but it’s exciting rather than oppressively scary.”
Giseburt, who is considering a career in translation, began studying Japanese her first year at Oberlin “just because I wanted to take a language and Japanese seemed cool,” she says. “My interest and commitment [to Japanese] has deepened every year. I like learning new ways to communicate.” Giseburt’s language skills will be put to the test while working with ANT Hiroshima and Green Legacy Hiroshima, both of which operate in Japanese.
Giseburt has visited Japan twice as an Oberlin student: She completed a summer language program in Tokyo between her first and second years and studied abroad in Kyoto as a junior. She says she applied for the fellowship partly because she has wanted to live in Hiroshima ever since visiting the city and partly to improve her Japanese.
Giseburt says she will leave for Japan on July 4. She plans to complete a summer language program at the International Christian Academy in Tokyo before beginning her work with UNITAR and ANT Hiroshima in early September.
At Oberlin, Giseburt worked as a copy editor for The Oberlin Review for three years and as a writing associate for three semesters. She was also a member of OSCA throughout her time as a student. She says Oberlin helped prepare her for this fellowship because, here, she “learned a lot about being self-confident, open-minded, and flexible.”