Claudia Kaori Nakano Lira from Mexico is a senior majoring in mass communication and minoring in marketing at the University of North Alabama

Claudia Kaori Nakano Lira from Mexico is a senior majoring in mass communication and minoring in marketing at the University of North Alabama

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I wanted to improve my English, learn about different cultures, and get a different perspective about my major.

How did you choose your intensive English program? 

My university in Mexico, La Salle, had a new exchange program with the University of North Alabama. I liked the university for its multiculturalism. They recieve a considerable amount of foreign students, allowing me to expand my horizons and improve my intercultural communication skills.

What do you like best about studying here?

Getting to know students from all over the world and living on campus. Both of them are experiences I could never have had in my previous university in Mexico.

What do you miss most about home?

My family — since I have always lived with them — and food. There are some Mexican restaurants here, but it's not really the same.

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?

I have been 11 months in the U.S. and had 9 months taking online classes from Mexico. I think my English has considerably improved, I feel more confident about it and more fluent. As a result, I feel capable of studying a master's in English without language problems.

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

About U.S. life — the urban mobility. I came from a city with multiple transportation systems to a place where the only option was to drive a car. And regarding the education, I would say the interaction between professors and students. With most teachers here I have a relation of a mentor rather than a boss.

...your biggest disappointment?

I think the rules the U.S. gives to its international students. I wanted to do my internships during my senior year, but for some legal restrictions I could not.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

At first if we don't understand each other, I try rephrasing what I want to say. Fortunately, if that doesn't work I can either translate my idea or look for images to show the other person.

...finances?

Most of my expenses are paid at the beginning of the semester — housing, food, tuition. So, I don't worry much about it while I am studying.

...adjusting to a different educational system?

If I had trouble understanding something, I used to talk to my professors and classmates for guidance.

What are your activities?

I am part of the Global Lions community that is always hosting events with the help of other international students for us to learn about different cultures.

How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?

I feel it was easy because there are a lot of new international students in the same position, so we all understand each other.

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

As a communication student I want to be able to create content for all audiences regardless of cultural barriers. The U.S. allowed me to improve my English and to learn about different cultures. We live in a globalized world where intercultural communication is more important than ever.

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

To take the leap and come to the U.S. I know it can be a long process to study abroad, but the experience and what they will learn is worth it.

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Claudia Kaori Nakano Lira from Mexico is a senior majoring in mass communication and minoring in marketing at the University of North Alabama.

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