introducing shoki nakata
Hi, my name is Shoki Nakata. I am an international student at Edmonds College from Japan. I am currently majoring in Biology at Edmonds College and trying to get an Associate degree (AA, DTA) to transfer to a four-year university. I am working at the Office of International Programs (OIP) as an OIP Social Media Student Ambassador and at the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership (CSEL) as a Campus Event Programmer.
Edmonds College provides a lot of programs that help students to find community, be successful, and feel included. For example, Edmonds College has a campus community farm which is one of the reasons that I chose Edmonds College. When I was in Japan and trying to find the college that I would like to go to, I thought of nothing necessary for my campus life except classes that I need to take because I thought that I just need to earn an Associate degree in Biology. However, my study-abroad agent recommended to me Edmonds College since I like to study in Biology and Agriculture. The more I have searched about Edmonds College, the more I became so interested in what I can learn at the Edmonds College! They have a college farm, valuable programs associated with other communities to enhance sustainable environments, and a beautiful campus. I had started to search for colleges in the US by focusing only on if they had a biology major or not, yet I found my ideal college by searching for what kind of opportunities they provide for students.
Those opportunities provided by college would be a part of the reasons that I wanted to study in the US. The trigger was my best friend in Japan. I met him when I was in high school, and after we graduated from high school, he went to study abroad in America. I thought I can't do the same as he did because I was not brave enough to talk to people in a different language. One day, I talked to my grandmother that one of my friends went to the US for study-abroad. Honestly, I wanted to be able to speak another language and study in a different country. Then she told me that "You should try it!" At that moment, I decided to study in the US. My best friend gave me a passion for studying abroad, and my grandmother gave me the confidence to make up my mind. And in winter quarter 2018, finally I had landed on the US! When I came to Washington state, I was so excited about everything that I saw. Boarding airplanes, people at the airport and on the street, different constructions. Especially, I have never been to other countries in my life before, so speaking in English was the hardest struggle. Of course, I am still struggling with that, but I am getting better through amazing experiences at the Edmonds College.
At the orientation, I was so nervous to talk to people because I have barely seen people who don't speak Japanese in my life. However, some international assistants speak other languages to support international students, and I felt like they were my lifesavers. I felt relieved that I have someone who I can talk in my language whenever I have questions or can't understand what people say. It is really helpful for students who came from other countries like me.
I was living with my host family at the first quarter. Even when I meet my host family for the first time, international assistants were there for me to help. So, it was really smooth to start to talk to my host family and get to know about them. Also, during the homestay, I have learned how to go shopping, where to buy daily supplies, and how to take a bus. I could experience the real American culture through my host family, so if you want to improve your English, I would definitely recommend to live in a homestay.
Transportation has a huge difference between Japan and America. In Japan, there are a lot of trains that comes every 5 minutes and we have bicycles. However, in America, I need to take a bus to go to anywhere or I need to walk. It is not bad to take a bus because you can get to know some local people on the bus and sometimes you can meet your friends on the bus. Time schedule of the bus is not really different than I thought. Maybe that’s because my hometown is kind of in a rural area in Japan. Transportation is slightly different than Japan, but I enjoy the differences between them and I like that people say “thank you” to the bus driver when they get off the bus.
My life at Edmonds College has just began! I will talk more about my jobs and my life on the next blog. I would like to explore more about Edmonds and challenge myself to get new experiences here and hope that it will encourage other students to explore themselves as well!
Thank you! See you on the next blog!
Written by Shoki Nakata - November 8, 2019
Pictures taken by Shoki Nakata