I’d like to thank my student Emily Thibault for her excellent final project: International Student Interview. I would also like to thank Akane Hagiya for sharing her story with us. Because of their hard work, we have access to the cross-cultural experiences of a UNR international student from Japan. I hope that this helps students coming to America as well as educators in America better prepare for study abroad’s challenges and rewards.
Many of Akane’s cross-cultural adaptation and transitional challenges are shared among international students. The following key points are from the video:
- Cross-Cultural Challenges: Language, making friends, and family separation. She coped with language challenges by practicing with friends/teammates/family & taking English classes. She had made more friends by getting involved with sports, classmates, and roommates. Experiencing American cultural traditions (Thanksgiving dinner) with host country nationals was helpful. Being separated from family can be very challenging but she used Skype and email to stay in touch.
- Akane shares that weekly dinners with other international students and with American teachers and families are very helpful.
- She likes the U.S. culture and educational system.
- Akane recommends that that international students make new American friends and join their groups to practice English. Getting out of your comfort zone will help you fully learn about the American culture.
- Study Abroad Rewards: Increases professional development, knowledge/experience, open-mindedness. Builds friendships, language skills, cultural competencies, international experience.
To provide more stories about study abroad in America, I will post a new international student interview from a different country each week for the few weeks. Check out previous interviews students from Beijing, China, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand, and the Congo. Hope you find this helpful and please comment if you do. Thanks.
Also, HLSL Institute is a helpful resource for international students, travelers, expatriates and expatriate families coming to the U.S. Check it out if you want help with cultural transition, language, transportation, and acculturation development.