My name is Raika Yoshinari and I’m the only Japanese student at the University of Chichester, Bognor campus. I’m studying Business Management with International English.
I came here because I love the UK. My first visit was when I was 15. I loved everything in the UK, so I came back here during the summer holiday when I was a senior high school student all by myself. However, a summer holiday wasn’t enough for me, so I decided to study abroad at a British university.
University life is not as comfortable as I thought it would be. The previous schools I had attended were only for international students, so I could socialise with other Japanese students. However, as I said before, there are no Japanese students on campus, so I have to communicate only in English.
The beginning of university life was a bit stressful as my English level was that of a five-year-old. I couldn’t understand what people were saying. Now I’m gradually learning and understanding things in context.
I lived with a British family when I was in my 1st year. They supported me all the time, and thanks to them I got used to living and working here.
Last month, I joined one of the university events called ‘Rox in the Park’ as an international student. I did a demonstration on origami (the Japanese paper craft) to local people. I’m very grateful for this opportunity as I got to interact with small children, something I rarely have the chance to do.
In my opinion, English spoken by adults and English spoken by children are two very different things. My host family had a granddaughter and I used to play with her a lot, so I wasn’t expecting that talking with a lot of children would make my brain overheat!
It is absolutely fantastic having to think in English constantly. Usually, I consider what I will say in Japanese, then translate to English, then say it. But I have no time to do it now. Also, I haven’t taught origami before, but children looked like they enjoyed it even when I did something wrong. This boosted my confidence, and I really had a wonderful time with them!