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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From WASEDA to England

Ms. Shoko Wadano
March 2010 Graduate from the School of Political Science and Economics

Wadano spent a one year exchange at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). “I participated in lectures centered on development theory such as, Comparative Economic Growth. At any rate, the English in the lectures and discussions was so fast I was having trouble.” After about half a year into her exchange she recorded all the lectures and spent her time taking down notes while listening to the tape in the library. In her class and dormitory life, she found it hard to make a circle of friends. “I was afraid that I couldn't speak well.,”and continued her days with no confidence in her speaking ability. But one event changed Wadano completely.

It was when she started doing voluntary charity work for Somali refugees at a church near St. Pancras Station. Among her African immigrant colleagues, many of them spoke broken English. These people made the most of their limited English vocabulary and used elaborate gestures, but they were communicating. “It was stupid having an inferiority complex over being unable to speak English. The reason you learn something is because you can't do it!” By taking this approach, she immediately became filled with courage. Then she began to start conversations herself and enjoy a fulfilling exchange student life. By joining a chorus circle run by staff, Wadano made more friends and acquaintances, and in the holidays she took a trip to Wales to visit a close friend.

“In addition to having no confidence in English and being unable to make friends, London's infamous cloudy weather and rain really brought me down. But if you are thinking of taking an exchange to England, please find something to amuse yourself, even when you are bogged down with study.” Wadano made a relaxing lifestyle for herself by taking walks along the waterways, spending time in mini-parks and cooking with friends. “Starting with the Thames, there are many rivers in London. I really enjoy the atmosphere around water. And I also really recommend touring the old castles in England and the beautiful national parks in Wales!”

For her juniors considering an overseas exchange, Wadano gives this piece of advice. “What will you do after you go? What will you do when you get back? Please keep this in mind at all times.” “If you stay conscious of your topics and aims there, your actions during the exchange will change. I think I gained a little confidence before and after the exchange. I now have a strong determination to work and develop business overseas, and plan to continue studying language and other fields!”

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)