“Earlham gave me a chance not only to explore myself, but what it means to be a part of a global community,” says Chancellor Milligan ’13.
Milligan says he chose to major in Human Development and Social Relations because he wanted to explore human behavior from perspectives of different social sciences.
After taking a course called “Persons and Systems” with Professor of Sociology Steven Butler and Professor of Psychology Nelson Bingham, he realized that “social sciences are not necessarily little islands separated from each other, but rather constitute a larger, broader way of viewing humanity.”
In addition, Milligan also started learning Japanese. “I began to fall in love with the culture, and with the language. I became extremely interested in Japanese culture,” he says. He says learning Japanese was not necessarily challenging, but different.
Combining the Japanese language with HDSR courses created an opportunity for him to learn how to apply the knowledge that he was getting in classes to Japanese culture. The Japan Study program has especially helped him with that. He could explore people’s actions and behavior in the context of the specific culture.
Milligan describes his learning experience at Earlham as a “field study”. He notes that this interdisciplinary approach to question why people act the way they do, not only helped him to figure out what he wanted to do in the long run, but raised a lot of new and important questions that he wants to find answers to.
For example, his vision of the United States was completely challenged. “It was that experience of something entirely different that allowed me to think critically about my life in the States and broadened my perspective of the world,” he says.
Those experiences created foundation by which I am going back now,” says Milligan.
Now Milligan is returning to Japan. He is going to spend two years as the assistant teacher of English at the Morioka Public Senior High School. He says education is important and he sees the upcoming experience not only as an opportunity to help others to learn English, but also to continue his own learning.
“There are a lot of issues going on in the U.S. that need to be looked at from the global perspective, but also from a critical perspective,” he says. While in Japan, his goal is to separate himself from biases, think critically about them and learn about other perspectives. Milligan then wants to take this experience to graduate school after he comes back from Japan.
Milligan admits that no matter which career path he will chose to follow in the future, he wants to allow the opportunity to speak for people who normally do not have this opportunity. “I see myself helping to open spaces for individuals to speak about their experiences. I want to be able to take those stories and share them in a way that individuals on a local level will begin to find something common that they can all relate to,” he says.