Tomoko Matsunaga '08 recently returned from her second voyage around the world working as an interpreter on the Peace Boat.
After four years of working at a public school in Alaska, the teacher decided to try something very different. She applied to be an interpreter on the 78th voyage of the Peace Boat and completed her first around-the-world cruise in 2012.
The Peace Boat is a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages, creating awareness for human rights, equal and sustainable development, and respect for the environment. Based in Japan, the Peace Boat is a nongovernment organization that promotes peace through educational programs, cooperative projects and advocacy activities.
Traveling with the Peace Boat has exposed Matsunaga to many global topics. She has met passengers from all walks of life and visited more than 30 countries around the world. Matsunaga says her travel with the Peace Boat was an eye-opening experience that she is excited to share with her students when she returns to teaching in her hometown of Date-City, Hokkaido, Japan.
“I want them to be excited about knowing the world and people living in it,” she says.
On the ship, Matsunaga interpreted lectures by Japanese- or English-speaking guest presenters and translated the daily onboard newspaper and time schedules. At port, she went on tours and interpreted for the local guides.
After graduating from Concordia with a degree in elementary education, Matsunaga studied to become a Waldorf-certified teacher and recently taught middle school students between voyages.
“It was wonderful to teach seventh-graders about the Age of Exploration after having visited several places where explorers traveled, including the Strait of Magellan,” she says.
Follow Matsunaga’s travels on Twitter: @tomomatasuna