Meet Miho from Japan

So, what made you want to come to England to study English?
My agent recommended this school to me because there weren’t too many people from my country here and I didn’t want to be around too many other Japanese people. I wanted to practise my English! My agent told me that Christchurch was a very friendly and peaceful place, which was what I wanted. I chose England because I wanted to study British English and also I’m interested in British culture, such as fashion and movies. Also I thought the culture and people here would be more similar to Japan than American or Australian culture.

Was England as you expected?
I thought it would be more expensive here than it actually is! It’s quite similar to Japan. I was surprised by how people greet each other more in the street here more than in Japan. All my Japanese friends told me the food here would be awful, but for me it’s been good, especially fish and chips! Also, it’s not been as cold here as I expected. I thought it would be colder than Japan, but it’s the same. But there is more rain here!  In terms of public transport, I use the bus whereas in Japan I always use the train. I’ve found the public transport here quite easy to use. I’ve felt quite safe here – the same as in Japan.

How was your experience of living with an English family?
My host mother is a very good person! I like fashion and she’s very fashionable, which impressed me! She’s very easy-going. She helps me with my English every day by speaking with me. I watch the TV with her every day, so it’s good listening and discussion practice. It’s a good time. Also, her cooking is really good! The house is also very clean and well-decorated. From the house to the school it only takes 5 to 10 minutes, which is good if I forget something. It’s also close to the supermarket, which is useful.
November 1st was my birthday and November 4th was her birthday, so we celebrated together, which was nice!
She’s also recommended some good places to visit in England which is very useful. She’s very helpful!

What’s the most memorable moment of your time here in England?
I’ve enjoyed watching films (in English!) with some of the friends that I’ve made here at the school. There are many different nationalities, so I have to speak English and it’s fun meeting people from different countries. After the film, we discussed our favourite music and languages, which I enjoyed. I also tried Swiss chocolate from my Swiss friends and I gave them some Japanese food!
Another memorable moment was visiting Oxford. I’m a city person really, so I wanted to go somewhere to go shopping. When I arrived in Oxford I was impressed by the big shopping mall. Also, I love the Harry Potter films, so I wanted to see the famous places there from the film. When I went to Oxford I saw the university students wearing their gowns, which was really cool.  A Japanese friend of mine is an Oxford student so I met up with him on that day, which was good. I also got to speak a bit of Japanese with him that day!

Is there anything you’d like to warn other students that are thinking of coming to England about?
I think you should bring a water-proof jacket. It’s cold at this time of year (November!). If you want to learn English in a short time I recommend you choose a place where there are less Japanese people so that you have to speak English more! I miss my Japanese food, so I recommend bringing some Japanese snacks with you too.
Also, don’t stay at home every day. Get out and practise using your English! Don’t be “hikikomori” – Japanese word! 😉

I recommend one-to-one lessons too. I wanted to practise speaking and listening, and when I first arrived I wasn’t very confident, but now I’m much more confident! Having the one-to-one lessons has helped my communication. I can ask questions about anything – it’s very useful!