Interview: Yumi Nakano (3年生)

yumi1Yumi Nakano is a third-year student who spent last year as a volunteer assistant language teacher in Toowoomba, Australia. Since returning, she has been an active member of ESS, and won 3rd prize at Shimonoseki City University’s speech contest [see video].

Q1. Last year you went to Australia as a Japanese assistant teacher. How did that experience change you?


I spent about 1 year in Australia and supported the Japanese classes given to primary students and college students as a Japanese assistant teacher. At first, having conversations with people was quite hard for me. I was thinking that my lack of English knowledge was the most serious problem. However, while spending time there, I realized that it’s not only because of my English skills but also I was always waiting for someone to talk to me and not showing my attitude enough that I want to join them. Since then, I started to talk to people more positively and got rid of any hesitation. After I changed my way of thinking, I could enjoy the conversations with people more. Now I think this Australian life improved me really a lot!!

Q2. This year you are focusing on speech contests. How do you think participating in these contests helps you?


I have two goals during my university life. One is “improving my English skills”. Another is “performing well even if I’m in front of many people and I’m nervous”. Participating in English speech contests is a big pressure for me but it’s a great chance to work on the two things that I want to improve at the same time. In our university, native-English teachers always help us very kindly. They checked my speech draft, corrected my pronunciation, and they gave me a lot of advice. Also they offered me some opportunities to practice my speech in front of many students. This way, I could get used to performing in front of many people. When I did well at the contest, I was so happy that I achieved the thing I had been working on a long time and I could get more confidence!!

Q3. In November, we are having a Asean Local Youth event in Kitakyushu. What will you be doing to help with that?


In November, about 30 people will be coming to Kitakyushu from ASEAN countries. We will have only one day to spend time together and we will visit some famous places in Kitakyushu together. Also we will enjoy having a discussion in English and international exchanges. Usually I don’t have any opportunities to see people from ASEAN countries. I’m so curious about what they are interested in Japan and their lives in their own countries. By asking many questions, I would like to know about them and understand each other!!

Q4. What do you imagine yourself doing 5 or 10 years from now?


I learned one more important thing in Australia last year. This is that Australian people don’t focus on their work too much, and they always try to have family time when they are off. When they have events, all their family members get together and celebrate grandly. It made me think that working is also important, but the motivation can come from a happy relationship with family members and a comfortable home. I would like to work internationally and use my English skills in the future. My ideal future is that I’ll be able to have enough time to enjoy many things with my family even while working hard. It’s not going to be easy to make it come true, but I’ll do my best for everything that I can do now.

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