The need to improve her English and a love of Harry Potter brought current pre-sessional student Hiroko Hajima to the UK.
The 20 year-old from Yamaguchi, Japan, is currently looking to develop her English skills at UCLan before returning to her hometown university to complete an English Literature degree.
“I chose the course because I’m currently studying English Literature in Japan and wanted to improve my English,” explained Hiroko, who is a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise.
“I haven’t decided what my dream job would be yet but I like talking in English to people so I hope to find a job in which I will regularly use English.”
As well as currently being enrolled on the pre-sessional course, Hiroko also attended the Language Academy’s summer school in 2014. Living in the UK and constantly hearing the English language being spoken is something she feels is essential in order to make progress.
“My listening skills have improved because I have had a lot of opportunities to listen to English whilst living here. At first, when I went shopping the staff spoke very quickly so I couldn’t understand but now it is not as bad,” she said.
Some of the teaching techniques have surprised Hiroko about studying in England but claims she is enjoying getting involved with the new ways of learning.
“We have lots of discussions in class which we do not have in Japan. It is a new style of studying for me but I enjoy the discussions and like to get involved.”
“At summer school, each Friday we had to present presentations and I found it interesting watching my friends present. I presented about British food as well as the differences between Japan and the UK. I was very nervous to present but feel I did well.”
The summer school experience allowed Hiroko to explore several English places and says that visiting the Lake District was her favourite activity.
“I got to go on a steam train which has always been something I’ve wanted to do. We also got to go out on a big boat on the lake. It was also sunny for a change!”
The 24-hour library at UCLan is something the Japanese student admires about the university, and she is keen to get involved with various events and societies during her time in Preston.
“There are a lot of events at the university. I am a member of the Japanese society. Every Wednesday I look forward to meeting the friends I’ve made there to socialise and watch movies whilst drinking alcohol!
“TESOL also offers free English classes through which I have met people from all over the world.”
Hiroko is now looking forward to beginning Semester 2 after spending some time travelling over the Christmas break; visiting a friend in Germany as well as seeing in the New Year in London.
“On New Year’s Eve I went to London where I saw the fireworks in front of Buckingham Palace. It was amazing!
“Whilst being in England I have also been to Stonehenge, York, and I went to Chester to walk along the walls. I still hope to visit Alnwick Castle before I leave England, where they filmed Harry Potter!”