There are many fascinating people on campus with intriguing stories to tell. Some of these people are the international students here at Millersville.
Miwa Kato is an international student from Tokyo. Kato started her Millersville education this spring semester. She is majoring in International Studies and German and will be graduating from Millersville with the Class of 2016.
She chose Millersville because of her foreign exchange student experience three years ago. While Kato attended high school, she lived with a family in the western part of Pa. She enjoyed her time there and wished to return. That was just one of the few reasons she came to live in the U.S.
“I came to improve my English skills,” explains Kato.
Kato is currently taking a mix of general education courses along with courses for her majors. Those courses include Wellness, English 110, Introduction to International Studies and German 101.
Having Japanese as a first language is a bit of a challenge for Kato, and she believes that her classes would be easier if they were in Japanese.
“I still [do not] understand the language. It takes a lot of time to finish homework and study for tests,” said Kato.
Not only is she taking on the task of learning English, but she is also majoring in German. The German classes offered here translate everything to English, a language she has difficulty understanding.
Still, Kato works harder than most when it comes to academics. While Kato is attending Millersville, she wants to study abroad in Germany, possibly one semester in her senior year. She is specifically interested in the German city of Hamburg. As for right now, she is getting used to the U.S.
Millersville and Tokyo are very different from each other, according to Kato. “[In comparison,] people are friendlier here. [The people in Millersville] are welcoming and very nice,” said Kato.
In Japan, most people are shy and they do not smile when they make eye contact with someone else. Kato explains that if a stranger makes eye contact with her here, they smile. She was confused by this at first, but later embraced the friendly gesture.
Transportation on campus is also unlike it would be in Tokyo. She is accustomed to mass transportation being available at any time she needed it. Here, she does not have that freedom because the bus is on a spaced out schedule. She also does not have her license because she did not need it in Tokyo. Other than that, Kato is having a pleasant experience.
“I do like it here,” states Kato.
Since she is used to the city, the country-like setting is a clean alternative. However, there are some tradeoffs for living in the states.
“I miss Japanese food,” shares Kato.
Kato is used to eating a lot of fish in Japan due to their island status, and she says that Millersville’s fish does not compare. While Kato is exploring her education at Millersville, her family resides in Japan.
“I miss them,” confesses Kato.
Since it is not her first time leaving her home without her parents, it is easier. She takes time to Skype with her mom and dad at least once a week.
Once the semester is over, Kato will be returning to Tokyo to reunite with her parents. After the summer, she will be back here in Millersville continuing her education.