Akari Masaoka from Japan: Studied English at American Collegiate English (ACE) at Grossmont College
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I first studied English in a club when I was six-years-old. I enjoyed using English with my friends and teachers as a hobby. When I was 13-years-old, I decided I would come to U.S. to study. I like American’s pronunciation of English and wanted to speak like an American native English speaker.
Why did you choose ACE at Grossmont College?
My teacher in Japan had studied at Grossmont College, so he introduced me to San Diego and told me about his great experience there. My agent recommended that I go to American Collegiate English (ACE) on the Grossmont College campus. ACE is the best and most helpful way to enter Grossmont College. The teachers and staff help you to transfer and succeed in the college.
What do you like best?
I think studying at ACE is a great way to learn English. The classes are small, and the professors and students are close to each other, so it is easy to ask questions. They really care about the students.
What do you miss most?
I miss my friends back in Japan!
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I’ve been studying here for eight months. For me, the ACE program was really good for my grammar skills. I used to always be confused about grammar, but in ACE, every professor showed us easy ways to learn grammar and writing.
In Japan, we don’t talk in class. The ACE program prepared me to expect to speak up in class in the American school way. At first, I couldn’t talk in class because I was shy. I practiced and now feel comfortable speaking in class and asking questions.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was surprised that many American people who don’t even know each other will talk with each other. I like American people’s character because they are positive, smiling, and funny.
... your biggest disappointment?
I was disappointed that different shopping malls had the same stores. There are not as many different stores as I thought there would be!
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I go to the campus International Club events and make a lot of foreign and American friends. I think this is the easiest way to learn to speak and use English. Also, I live with an American family, so I always am in an English environment.
It is expensive to live and study in the U.S., but my mom supports me to study here.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
A foreign exchange student in Japan is taken care of by the government and the school, but in the U.S., we are expected to take care of ourselves.
What are your activities?
I was correct to decide to join the International Club because now I have many friends. We had movie nights, a bonfire on the beach, and an end-of-the semester party. We went to San Francisco together. We took a bus to Los Angeles and had a special tour of UCLA. It was very interesting. With my homestay family, I go camping and celebrate American holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a great way to see what the holiday is actually like in a family home.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
For me, it is easy to make friends in the U.S. and Japan. Don’t forget smiling! It is the easiest way.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
After two years at the community college, I plan to transfer to a university and complete my Bachelor Degree in Architecture. If I can speak English when I want to work in Japan, I can start at a higher level. Also, I can teach the Japanese employees about the differences between the Japanese and American ways of doing things and communicating. For these reasons, my American education will help me get a job.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Coming to the U.S. is the greatest experience for me, so I really appreciate it. For me, every day here is important and I want to make the most of my opportunity. It’s not easy to come here, so take advantage of your time here. Don’t take everything seriously, enjoy yourself!
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Grossmont College / ACE American Collegiate English
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