Risa Okayama from Japan: She studied business marketing at University of Central Oklahoma

Risa Okayama from Japan: She studied business marketing at University of Central Oklahoma

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

When I thought about my life after college, I wanted to be able to work internationally. So, I decided to come to the United States to learn business in English to make my dream come true.

How did you choose your intensive English program? Please mention such factors as location, reputation, special programs offered. What attracted you to your particular school? Why is it a special place?

My school back home, Japan College of Foreign Language, has a partnership with The Language Company, where I studied their intensive English program. I chose TLC Edmond center because the University of Central Oklahoma is close and my teacher at my Japanese school strongly recommended me to go to TLC to improve English.

What do you like best about studying here?

I made lifetime friends through TLC from all over the world. Leaning new cultures and languages are fun and exciting. This experience definitely made me open-minded. In addition, TLC’s intensive English program improved my English skill dramatically. When I came to the United States, I had a score of 497 on the PBT TOEFL test. However, only after 2 months studying with TLC, my score went up to 533.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss food the most. I really like to try food from different countries. But I am always craving

How long have you been studying here? How has your English improved?  How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

It has been 4 years since I came to the United States. My English has improved significantly compared to the time that I came here. Because of TLC’s intense English program, I was able to meet the requirement for enrolling in college, so it surely helped me to study.

What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?

I was surprised that people do not hesitate to share their opinions. It was hard at first for me to express my opinion because I did not even know what my opinion was.

 ... your biggest disappointment?

The public transportation system is not as developed as Japan. It was difficult to go to places without having a car.

How have you handled:


... language differences?

 I just tried to talk with someone. At first, I was afraid of making mistakes, so I did not talk a lot. However, I did not see my English improving because I did not talk. Since then, I try to talk more. Additionally, I use new words immediately after I learn them to solidify these words into my long-term memory.

... finances?

While I was a student, the university tuition and rent increased multiple times. It is common in the U.S to see a slight increase in price for services on an annual basis.

 ... adjusting to a different educational system?

It took me a while to get used to the American college structure. Every class has a different structure and the types of assignments vary depending on the professor. Some classes have paper-based homework, and some of them have presentation-based homework. Therefore, it was hard for me to get used to the differences at the beginning of every semester.

What are your activities (clubs, sports, student associations, travel, homestay programs, special activities or trips sponsored by your Intensive English Program)?

TLC has a lot of activities that students can join at their convenience. My favorite activity was a trip to Tulsa. I went to a museum and aquarium to experience something different. It was a short trip, but I enjoyed it very much. I also went to a farm with my homestay to see horses.

How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?

It is not hard to make friends in the United States. I tried to understand the cultural differences in order to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable with me. With respect for different cultures and thoughts, you can make friends.

What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?

My career goal is being able to work internationally in marketing from within the United States. Having an education in the United States was helpful to me because I was able to learn about international marketing. I believe my experiences will give me more opportunities to work not only in Japan, but also in the United States.

What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering studying English in the USA?

If you believe that studying English in the United States is something you would like to pursue, then do not hesitate. Set goals, implement them, and act fast.

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