Study-Abroad ExperiencesEncountering Different Cultures, Foreign Language Immersion, and Developing an International Outlook

My English language skills improved dramatically, thanks to classroom instruction, conversations with my roommates, and my internship.

I participated in FSP from September through December during my first year at Koryo International College. I studied in a language program at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the UK, then interned at a Japanese commodity store in York. I vividly remember one language program assignment: I had to do research on gJapan's Place in the Worldh and give a report to the class. I learned a lot from the assignment, in part because I'd had so little experience organizing research results and speaking in front of other people.

The store where I interned sold Japanese goods, so I met many people with an interest in Japan, including a Canadian who once taught English in Japan. There was much less information about Japan in the UK than I'd imagined. I remember thinking Japan should try harder to get more information about itself out to the other countries of the world. I'd like to make the most of my experiences in the UK and to continue improving my English proficiency.


Shizuka Hirai image
Shizuka Hirai
World English Course
Born in Mie Prefecture
Frontier Spirit Program
UK
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I participated in the International Volunteer Project in part to build fond memories of my college life. I learned lots of things - it was a great experience.

I participated in the International Volunteer Project because I'd never done any volunteer work, and because I wanted to do something before graduation that I could remember as a keepsake of my college years. The International Volunteer Project sent me to Avignon in the south of France to help with various projects, including river cleanups and building stone walls for a tower located on a hilltop. There were three Japanese students, including me. Other students came from Russia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, France, and Morocco. The foreign project members spoke English to one another, but the Avignon natives spoke only French. We couldn't speak French to communicate with the Avignon natives, but they welcomed us with open arms anyway, inviting us to parties and village events. I enjoyed every minute of my stay in Avignon. Another positive outcome from the program was that talking in English with other volunteers from different countries improved my English listening comprehension, to a degree I didn't even realize at the time.

I'll begin working at Toyota Motor after graduating from Koryo International College. I hope to work in the marketing department or in a division that has something to do with overseas operations. But wherever I'm assigned, I'm sure my experience as an international volunteer will help.


Yukari Sekimoto image
Yukari Sekimoto
World English Course
Born in Gifu Prefecture
International Volunteer Project
France
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I'm confident my overseas experiences helped me achieve greater maturity.

I had overseas homestay experiences in my junior and senior high school years, so I wanted something different from this overseas experience. That's why I signed up for the International Volunteer Project during summer break. My job as a volunteer was to build rest areas and picnic areas on a hiking trail in rural Belgium. There were a total of 12 volunteers, hailing from Spain, Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. I was the only Japanese. Since we all spoke different mother tongues, we used English as our common language. We boarded in a building that used to be a church. After work, we would try to teach each other our own mother languages and cook dishes from our home countries. The locals were kind and took us to various festivals. I ended up having lots of experiences I would never have had in an ordinary tour.

I'd always gone on guided tours on previous trips overseas. Participating in the International Volunteer Program gave me the confidence to travel overseas alone and helped me mature. I plan to continue working to improve my English skills. Someday I hope to attend an overseas educational institution.


Rie Miura image
Rie Miura
World English Course
Born in Aichi Prefecture
International Volunteer Project
Belgium
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By initiating conversations, I was able to improve my English conversational skills.

I participated in the language study program at the University of York from the end of January to the end of February. I vividly remember a class in which most lessons took place outside the classroom. In this class, the teacher taught us about local industries and the history of a certain area, then took us to that area. Upon returning to the school, we would discuss our impressions. This class taught me to express my opinions effectively. My homestay was in a house where the host mother lived alone, and she was very kind to me. Since my host mother had a job and wasn't home all the time, the host families of other students would sometimes invite me to their home parties. I had so much fun each day that not only was I not homesick, but I couldn't wait to go back to the UK as soon as I got back to Japan.

I used to be a listener, rather than a talker, before I left Japan. But for some reason, in the UK, I took the initiative in talking to others. I think this improved my English speaking skills. I plan to continue studying English so I can find a job that will let me to apply my English skills.


Ayako Nakayama image
Ayako Nakayama
World English Course
Born in Aichi Prefecture
Language Study at University of York in the UK
UK
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I'm currently studying to become a cabin attendant, and I attended a language program to improve my English.

I decided to attend the language program at the University of York mainly because I wanted to improve my ability to communicate in English and to put myself in direct contact with the British culture. I took a 2nd grade English Proficiency test before participating in the program, but failed the test, falling one point short of the passing score. I think this made me even more determined to improve my English skills. In the language program I attended, I enjoyed a class where we learned words through various quizzes. The host family in the UK who took care of me consisted of a father, mother, and two sons. Both sons led independent lives. During my stay with the family, my host father went on a long business trip, so I spent many hours with my host mother. Being alone with my host mother naturally led to long hours of conversation, which I'm sure helped my English conversational skills.

My goal is to become a cabin attendant. To achieve this dream, I took and passed tests in the following areas, among others: English proficiency, Japanese Red Cross Society first aid certification, sign language certification, secretarial certification, service and hospitality certification, colloquial language skills certification, word-processing certification. My plan is to keep improving my English to move closer to my dream.


Yuka Suzuta image
Yuka Suzuta
World English Course
Born in Mie Prefecture
Language Study at University of York in the UK
UK
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