Hyogo University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific


  • Name:A.Y [ 日本 ]

  • Acceptance period:Aug. 15, 2022 ~ May. 12, 2023
  • Acceptance university:イリノイ大学アーバナ・シャンペーン校
  • University enrolled:甲南大学

Opportunity of the studying abroad, purpose

My reason for choosing to study abroad as an exchange student was the experience of studying abroad in Australia, which I participated in when I was a second-year high school student. During that short-term study abroad experience, I spent the latter half of my trip in a home stay and had to try to communicate with my host family by myself. Without fear of making mistakes, I actively spoke English to my host sisters and their friends so that I could make wonderful memories such as going to the theater and having lunch in the park together. Since that study abroad experience was so short, I next wanted to try a longer study abroad program in order to grow as a person.
I have two main purposes for studying abroad. The first is to improve my English skills. Not only to improve my general English skills, but also to obtain English that I can use in business contexts through the study of specialized subjects. In addition, I would like to improve my listening and speaking skills by being in an environment where I am surrounded by English all the time, and to be able to communicate smoothly with foreigners.
My second objective is related to intercultural communication. I would like to expand my views and be able to consider things from a variety of perspectives by interacting with people from different cultures. I plan to invest a lot of effort into making friends, and to spend time outside of my classroom studies participating in activities and field trips to make memories. Keeping these two goals in mind, I would like to challenge myself in various ways so that I can make the most out of my precious experience in the United States.
For my academic studies at the university, I would like to take a psychology class since I also study this subject in Japan, so I am eager to learn about it from a different perspective and make new discoveries. In addition, if there are any clubs or communities related to Japan at the university, I would like to actively participate in them and use the experience I had in the tea ceremony club which I belonged to from my second year of junior high school through my final year of high school.

Experience while studying abroad

■Study (language)

I have switched my way of thinking from trying to speak perfect English to trying to communicate what I want to say. Grammar is important to some extent, but even if my grammar is broken, as long as I challenge myself and express to my friends what I want to say over and over again, they will understand and help me to correct mistakes. I feel that this method is easier to remember in my head than learning from a textbook or the Internet, and it also allows me to use the somewhat frank English that native speakers use. Furthermore, if there are times when I am not sure of my pronunciation, I ask my roommate to help me learn it.

■Study (specialized subjects)

One of the goals I set before coming to the United States was to learn more technical terms in English. In the first semester, I took four psychology lectures, which were very interesting and I am glad that I took all of them. The exams for the lectures I took were all multiple-choice exams, so I did not have to memorize the technical terms, but through repeated preparation and review, I was able to learn them naturally. In addition to the technical terms, I learned many other words and expressions that often appear in textbooks.

■Reflection, future goals, and plans (preparation for regular exams, winter break, second semester classes, etc.)

In the first semester, I took only psychology lectures. Therefore, in the second semester, I decided to study other areas of interest besides psychology. In addition to the two psychology courses, I am taking courses in "Diversity in Advertising," "Social and Environmental Issues," and "Modern Recreation, Sports, and Tourism." I received the explanation about the syllabus for those courses at the first lectures last week, and I am especially looking forward to the projects and discussions that will be included in the lectures since they were not included in the courses I took last semester. I would like to contribute to the group by working hard on my preparation and pre-research.

Also, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a relatively long winter break, from mid-December to mid-January, and so I was able to go on a trip to New York with my friends. During this trip, I realized my dream of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square. In New York, I had a very meaningful winter break, having various new experiences such as visiting museums, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and riding the subway for the first time in the United States.

My goals for the second semester are to make more friends and to improve my grades. I regret very much that I could not make many friends in the classroom last semester. I was hesitant to talk to them myself and had no chances to talk to them in the classroom. Therefore, in the second semester, I will try to improve this by talking to others more, asking questions immediately if I don't understand something, and trying to make conversation with the professor. As for my grades, I was not fully satisfied with my performance in the first semester because I was so busy trying not to drop any credits. In the second semester, I would like to make use of my reflection from the first semester in order to make better plans, set my goals high, and get good grades.

Results of study abroad, future goals

■Study (preparation, review, and other self-study)

I made sure to work on my reviewing process. During classes, I concentrated on taking notes so that I would not miss anything that the professors said. They would use examples to go over things that I could not understand just by reading the textbook, so I tried to remember what was said during class while I was reviewing. Some professors would focus on questions from the textbook, and some would focus on questions from slides used in class, so I prepared for exams according to each lecture. For specific terms, I looked them up in Japanese once in advance to make sure the definitions were correct and studied so that I could understand them in both Japanese and English.

■Study (specialized subject, difference between the United States and Japan)

For me, the most impressive lecture through this exchange program was the one called “Diversity in Advertisement.” I learned how minority groups are treated in advertising. The topic which I remember most is “Asian Americans in Pop Culture.” I watched the movie and learned bias and stereotypes of Asian Americans and learned the breadth of representation. The main difference that I noticed in the classroom between the United States and Japanese students is how motivated they are. I felt that if the U.S. students didn’t understand the slides, most of them tended to ask questions during the class rather than asking questions after the class.

■Language skill

In order to improve my English skills, I was always aiming to keep conversations last long so that they would not end formally. I tried not only to listen to what the other person is talking about, but also to talk about myself. Also, when I was speaking, I tried to imitate what my friends were speaking, instead of using the same words every time I spoke such as when I wanted to agree. Previously, I could not speak English actively because I would get nervous when I tried to speak perfect English. Through conversations with my friends, I realized that they could understand my English even if the grammar was a little broken, so I actively engaged in conversations without fear of making mistakes. Since I became aware of these things, I feel that my English ability has improved compared to before I studied abroad.


One of the reasons I like the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign is the diversity of the students. When I was studying in the café, I could hear many different languages such as Korean, Russian, and Spanish. Also, in the cafeteria, there are Korean and Spanish dishes, so I was able to experience the culture of many different countries. The thing I struggled with the most throughout this program was making new friends. When I first came here, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make many friends. However, in the middle point of last semester, I changed my mindset so that I would not be rushed, and I decided to spend more time with each of my friends. Thanks to this, I have made some very important friends that I can call my best friends.

■Future Goals and Plans

As for my future goals, I would like to spend more time listening to English so that I can maintain and develop my English skills after returning to Japan. At Konan University, I would like to take classes that are mainly conducted in English. In my free time, I would also like to watch movies and listen to music in English so that I will not forget the sense of language I acquired in the United States. I will be researching in detail about the industry and job I would like to work in, but I would like to do a job where I can use my English skills. I believe that my current English skills for daily conversation are not yet sufficient for a job that uses English. Therefore, I would like to learn specific business English terms typically used by foreign companies as I continue my studies.