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EF Stories: Mika Fukunaga from Japan at EF Eastbourne

"Over the past 8 months, my personality and have changed significantly and I've become a proactive doer."
EF Stories: Mika Fukunaga from Japan at EF Eastbourne

Q1: Why did you decide to study abroad?


I had always been interested in the country of United Kingdom and wanted to be able to speak English better.

Q2: What made you choose EF to go to the UK?

A: First of all, I was able to get local information directly from the Japanese staff, and I felt less worried and anxious before traveling.

Moreover, I looked at the website and understood it was a language school that specialized in learning English skills.

Q3: What was your language proficiency level before and after studying abroad? Please let us know if you have any qualifications obtained after returning to your country.

A: Before studying abroad, my IELTS score was around 5.0. EF test result at graduation: C1.2 (speaking) C2 (listening & reading).

Q4: What preparations did you make before departure? Is there any information you wish you knew ahead?

A: Before departure, I prepared my personal belongings. Regarding my studies, I reviewed my English grammar once again.

What I should have known is the distance from my host family's house to the school and the commuting time, which was farther away than I expected. In addition, the price differences are big between UK and Japan. I wish I had researched more to understand what are more expensive.

Q5: Please tell us about the atmosphere in your class and the nationalities of your classmates.

A: The atmosphere was lively and friendly, with everyone teaching each other languages that they didn't know.

The nationalities were quite a mix, including South Korea, China, France, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Colombia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Switzerland, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, and others.

Q6: What was your favorite SPIN class (special elective subject)?

A: Art, speaking and listening classes.

Q7: What topics were discussed during your individual consultation every 6 weeks?

A: About how my English was improving and how I studied English.

Also, about how I was communicating in English outside school.

Q8: Can you tell us about the content of project for the semester?

A: We made posters and different objects, and gave speeches that related to environmental issues.

In the winter, the project was about Guy Fawkes, which incorporated British culture.

Q9: Please tell us about your homestay.

A: I was staying with a host family of 5 people including the father (40s), mother (40s), son (20s), son's girlfriend (20s) and another person living together (40s) with them. I also had a roommate from Hong Kong.

Q10: Please tell me the approximate time required from where you are staying to the school and the means of transportation.

A: It took me around 30 minutes by bus. The transportation cost was around 10 pound per week.

Q12: Please tell me how you spent your time after school and during long holidays.

A: After school, I normally went to cafes with my friends, stayed at school and played various sports, and I went to the seaside to relax since the school was close to it. On days that ended in the morning, I took day trips to London, Brighton, and other destinations in UK.

During my first long vacation, I went to Scotland for a week with friends from EF, and then spent the next few days visiting York, England. On my second vacation, I visited friends in Germany, traveled to Spain with friends, and toured London with friends from Japan.

Q13: Could you use your mobile phone while you were there?

A: I bought a SIM card and used my smartphone.

Q14: How was your experience with EF 's local supports (housing managers, job coordinators, etc.)?

A: I didn't have a chance to talk much, but I felt they responded quickly.

Q15: What do you think is the most interesting difference between Japan and UK?

A: There are many interesting aspects, but the biggest one is the difference in food culture.

For example, I found it interesting that every restaurant in the UK had a vegetarian menu.

I also found it interesting that there was a famous story about not carrying an umbrella even on rainy days, and that the jokes and sarcasm were very cold compared to Japan.

Also, when I went to the supermarket, I found it interesting that there was a wide variety of vegetables, cheese and meat that I could not find in Japan.

Q16: Please tell us what you think has changed for you through studying abroad, what experiences and skills you feel are useful, and what you cannot develop unless you study abroad.

A: Over the past eight months, my personality and have changed significantly and I have become a proactive doer. I went alone to visit the friends I made at school who lived in Europe, and experienced the local life there. I also began to think deeply about environmental and other worldwide issues, and to form my own opinions about them. This is because I encountered academic topics during my classes and had debates and presentations with my classmates every week. I learned a lot of knowledge and ideas from my classmates that I didn't know before, which also broadened my vision. I believe these experiences will become my true knowledge by studying abroad and discussing with classmates and friends of various nationalities. I am not exactly an expert of everything about the education system in my friend's country, what kind of lifestyle they live, what kind of religion they have, etc., but I was able to learn a lot of things, and I found it very interesting.

My English speaking had improved a lot, which I was not good at the beginning. I can totally feel it. I am able to speak English in public with confidence now. I went to a local beauty salon once every two or three months, and each time I went, I was able to speak faster and have better conversation with my hairdresser. In just 8 months, I have met many people and made friends from all over the world. Those are treasures to last a lifetime.

Q17: Based on your study abroad experience, what kind of industry or job do you want to work in? Please let us know if you have any future goals or plans.

A: In the future, I would like to get a job where I can communicate in English on a daily basis. My current goal is to use my working holiday visa to work and live overseas.

Q18: Please give a message to those who are thinking of studying abroad about the charm of the city you visited and what you felt.

A: Eastbourne is a small town with a homely atmosphere by the sea, and I think it's a suitable place to study English. It's a place where you can feel at ease even if it's your first time studying abroad, as you can often have small conversations with the locals while waiting at the bus stop, restaurants, etc. Eastbourne is a great place for sightseeing as you can reach London and the airport just by train, so please come and study in Eastbourne.

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