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Our Guiding Principles


In struggling with foreign language,
and through understanding born of misunderstanding,
we seek to nurture individuals who can engage in real dialogue


supported by three pillars.

Language Ability

Cultural Knowledge

Independence of Mind

To read and endeavor to understand the works of classic and modern novelists, thinkers, and philosophers; to send shockwaves through your own system of values

To comprehend and employ language accurately with respect to context, nuance, and insinuation

To involve and inform yourself, to consider ideas in your own mind,

and to express them in your own words


The ability to engage in real dialogue

​When individuals from diverse backgrounds come together,

engage in real dialogue,
​and gain new perspectives,

This is ika.​

Toward this end,

we are here to help

What is "ika"?


To us, ika means shaking the foundations upon which we base our familiar ways of thinking. It means seeking out that which is novel and surprising. It means learning how to view the world in different and multifaceted ways.

The name of our project, ika, comes from the Japanese word 異化 (ika). (i) means “different” or “unusual”, and (ka) means “change” or “transformation”. 異化 is translated into English as “defamiliarization”.
In Russian, this idea is captured in the term ostranenie (остранение) coined by literary theorist Viktor Shklovsky.
In German, the word is verfremdung.

To nurture individuals who can engage in real dialogue
To help them toward ika
To enrich lives

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