IMSSO project: Japanese students

For this project, we interviewed to look into several Japanese students who are part of the international and multicultural program (IMSSO) here at Arkansas Tech University. Over the course of our interview, we asked questions to understand the student’s reasoning behind how they decided to choose Arkansas Tech as their school of choice among the sea of other colleges and universities in America. We were pleased to discover several interesting reasons why they did chose Tech. We narrowed our interviewed to four Japanese students. We got Azumi Koyama, Yosuke Kitakaze, Ai Ozeki, and Kana Miyamoto all to agree to our interview. Our interviewees had their own different personalities and perspectives of Arkansas Tech University and living in America.

Our inspiration for this project was our very own Azumi Koyama. We were so interested in her decision to come here, of all places! This freshman is from the state of Kanagawa, and her favorite American food here is French fries. Yosuke Kitakaze is an international student who is from the state of Osaka. Also a freshman at Tech, his interests are inspirational and unlike most American college students, he enjoys the quiet Arkansas environment for his studying and loves learning the new things America has to teach. Ai Ozeki is a transfer student who is a sophomore this year at Arkansas Tech University. Her interests included timeless trips to Walmart Supercenter, which interestingly Japan doesn’t have-go figure! Kana is the nature loving freshman who came here as part of her Japanese school exchange program, very similar to Azumi’s story.

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First we wanted to talk about the reasons that they chose Arkansas Tech University. Yosuke had another reason on choosing Tech. His main concern was tuition, which ATU has a low tuition compared to other American schools and in combination with his second most desire, a quiet place to make the most of this excellent opportunity for Yosiuke. A common theme among all our IMSSO students was their desire to study, Kana also wanted to have her focus on her schoolwork, and living in the quiet country helps her achieve that. Arkansas Tech University is unique in offering an international scholarship, and the students also love that there is a Japanese advisor, Yasushi Onodera which helps the students be able to relate to someone in authority here at Tech. Like many stereotypical judgments set upon America, Ai was lead to believe that the United States were a lot more dangerous than what she came to realize Arkansas actually was. She was pleasantly surprised that Russellville was quite different than media had led her to believe.

The friendships that Arkansas Tech offers is another thing that all Tech students enjoy about Tech and our interviewees are no different. Each student agreed mentioned that they enjoy the friendships they have made so far with the Americans as they describe us as “friendly”.  They enjoy what we American’s value the most: Freedom of Speech. They like that we can be outgoing by asking questions and are able to engage in class  discussions and we can help a complete stranger without being criticized.  We have enjoyed their company and learning about their culture as well. Life in Japan was so much different than their life here in America.

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Azumi adores how whenever she has any problems, she knows she can always go to her friends for any advice or help. The other students all agreed to that and said that there is a good vibe at Arkansas Tech, and they are glad they chose to come here.

Regardless of what we ask, the students all want to say that the environment that Arkansas Tech University offers is perfect for studying! It is not hectic enough for them to not get things done, but at the same time that it is not so uneventful that it is not fun. That’s what we like to hear about ATU! It has got to be just the right amount of everything, not too little and not too much. After all, school and the experience was why they wanted to attend school in another country, which is very admirable to leave everything behind to venture into the unknown.

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At Arkansas Tech University today, there are 457 international students enrolled. These students all range from thirty-two different countries. The majority of students come from either Saudi Arabia (210) or China (120). The rest being from Nepal (10), India (33), or Japan (16). As you can see, there are not many Japanese students compared to other countries part of IMSSO program. They not only have learned a lot from the American culture, but we have learned quite a bit from them as well. We can’t wait to welcome future exchange and transfer students to Arkansas Tech University!

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