1) When did you first start ISB?
2) What was your favorite part of ISB?
I enjoyed every single part of ISB, the campus, friends, teachers, curriculum, events, IASAS, etc.
3) How did you feel when you first started ISB?
When I first started at ISB, I felt very anxious about commuting a long distance, making new friends, and also having an education in English.
4) Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB? If so, why?
Yes, although I had experience living in the U.S. for eight years from when I was just a baby until second grade and English was my mother tongue at that time, by the time I came to ISB at the age of 13, I could not speak English at all. I was even close to failing my English class exams in middle school in Japan. I still remember when I came to ISB summer school after 7th grade, we were reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I struggled reading and was looking up English words in a dictionary every second.
5) What at ISB helped you most with your English?
I think looking up new English words in the dictionary every day helped with my vocabulary and English class improved my grammar. With the use of elective classes such as “speech”, I was able to improve my presentation skills.
6) Were there ways you were able to maintain your Japanese while at school?
In 11th grade and 12th grade, there were Japanese classes as elective classes focusing on university exam preparation. Similar to other Japanese students, I also had a tutor after school at home to prepare for the Japanese university exams, who gave me techniques for writing essays.
7) When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?
I was confident enough with English, but not so much in Japanese. After going back to Japan and going to cram school, I met lots of returnees from the U.S. and lost a bit of confidence in English when comparing to them, who spent their high school in the U.S.
8) To which schools did you apply?
Kwansei Gakuin University, Doshisha University, Keio University, Waseda University, Sophia University, and Aoyama Gakuin University.
9) Which university did you choose and why?
Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. Although I did pass many of the university’s exams, this was the only university that had a School of International Politics, Economy and Business. Also, I was originally from Osaka and never had experience living in Tokyo, but all of my ISB friends were from Tokyo, so I still wanted to be close with them.
10) How did you find the transition from Thailand and ISB to Japan?
Not so difficult. Of course, there are some subjects where we lacked knowledge compared to those who lived all their life in Japan such as Japanese history, Japanese literature, etc. People who grow up in Japan learn these things in high school, but it’s was never too late to study later on. Of course, I had different advantages knowing something they didn’t know, so I didn’t feel the disadvantage at all.
11) How do you feel ISB prepared you for university?
I think my experience at ISB prepared me for my post-university life, but not as much for university life.
12) What career did you pursue after university? Why?
I decided to work for a Japanese manufacturer with a global brand and started to apply for companies in the automotive industry and electronics manufacturers. I ended up working in the global marketing team for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer of Electrical Equipment and Electronics. Looking back at that time, I’m sure that the experience and strength I had in ISB helped me get a job at a global company.
13) Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at SIB with English as a second language?
Never be afraid of trying and also don’t forget to always enjoy trying what you like to do. Just like myself, you might not be the smart one in class, but maybe you are talented in other fields such as sports and/or music. Participating in IASAS and showing your skills will definitely help you make friends regardless of your English skills. Showing your strength will change how others look at you.
14) Anything you would like to add?
Unlike Japanese high school life where you focus and study hard for a short period preparing for your quarterly exam, ISB school life requires hard work on a daily basis, but the hard work you put in during high school in ISB will definitely pay off when you get older. It’s been 20 years since graduating from ISB, but still today, the days I spent at ISB are the best days in my life. I would strongly recommend choosing ISB.