Shiori says that ever since she was a child she has wanted to travel overseas so she has always felt that learning to speak English was essential. “I thought that English will continue to become more and more important in Japan, so learning to speak it fluently wouldn’t only help me to build my confidence, it would assist me to grow into someone who can contribute to society. This made me want to complete high school studies outside of Japan”.
There were some who were worried for her but Shiori was determined so her supportive mother, Sachiko decided to come with her as her guardian.
“Even though I felt safe because my mother was coming with me, when I actually left Japan the feeling of ‘fear’ began to grow. I realised that I hadn’t really learnt very much English at Junior high…” Shiori said that this uncertainty led to her feeling homesick and it almost destroyed her dream so shortly after starting her studies. But, after meeting others here who had come from Japan, and hearing that they too found it difficult at first, and shared similar experiences to hers, Shiori felt encouraged and realised that she wasn’t alone in finding it tough. She says that from that time on she slowly began to adjust to her school life, as well as life in general here in Adelaide.
After studying ISEC (International Secondary English Course – a course for foreign students to prepare them for high school) for 8 months, Shiori was accepted into a Year 10 class. She explained that this really broadened her integration, giving her more opportunities to communicate with local people. Her studies became more difficult, but she says, “I got used to openly asking my teacher to explain things that I didn’t understand, and this helped me to overcome the challenges.” She says that through this experience she has learnt that if there is something that you don’t understand, you just need to ask someone and they will help you. She also overcame her weak point of expressing her opinions and showing confidence, which made communicating with teachers and friends much easier.
In junior high school Shiori was a strong tennis player and she is continuing it here, playing for a local tennis club and participating in tennis tournaments. Currently competing in Division 1, Shiori explained the benefits she gets from playing tennis and said, “I only train once a week because I don’t want it to interfere with my study, but it is really good to help me feel refreshed.
After Graduating from High School
Although she hasn’t decided what she wants to do after graduating from high school, Shiori is thinking of making the most of her experience of studying in the English-speaking world by either going to university in an English speaking country, or by studying something at a Japanese university using the English language.
“My mother has tried hard to support me in my overseas schooling so I don’t want to waste it. I am really interested in psychology so in the future I would like to work in a profession that relates to that field. No matter what, I want to contribute to society and become someone who plays an active part in making it better.”
A Message to Future Students from Abroad
“For me, studying abroad takes a lot of courage, but if you have courage and start the ball rolling, you’ll make it happen somehow. Please don’t be afraid to get advice from people when you are unsure of something. You will definitely have an opportunity to make your dreams come true so I think it is important that you don’t miss it and take every chance you have. Studying abroad brings some tough times but I am sure that you will get everything that you put into it, so please keep trying your hardest. I have also experienced many difficult times here, and I continue to battle my way through, but now I am really glad that I have chosen to study abroad.”