1. Why did you choose to major in International Studies?
When I entered Western, I was a Spanish Education major. However, after taking SPAN 301 and JPN 101 in my first semester here, I realized that I was not confident that I wanted to teach Spanish in the future and that Spanish was not the only language that I was interested in studying. There began my search of a new course of study that I tailored for my particular interests starting what I believe was the second semester of my freshman year: International Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies. These blended my interests in politics, socio-cultural issues, economics, language, and history in a way I previously did not imagine to be possible. From the moment I took Global Issues in the spring semester of my first year, I knew this was the path meant for me.
2. What is your second major and projected graduation date from WCU?
My second major is Interdisciplinary Studies: Dual language Studies: Spanish and Japanese. A bit of a mouth full, but has allowed me to really get involved in these two languages that I came to love and apply methods regarding linguistics and language acquisition taught in my minor, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I hope to graduate December 2018, just waiting on those study abroad transcripts to come in.
3. Did you study abroad?
Yes! I studied abroad at Osaka Kyoiku University for one year, September 26th, 2017 to August 10th , 2018. OKU is a national education university in Kashiwara, Osaka Japan, located atop what most students fondly refer to as a “mountain,” even if it is just a steep hill.
4. What are your plans after graduation?
My immediate plan is to teach English in Japan at a preschool starting in February. I found this job while studying abroad at Osaka Kyoiku University, and actually worked from April to August there part-time while completing my year abroad. Eventually, I hope to move to teaching in middle or high schools in Japan, but in order to guarantee myself such a job, I would like to get a Master’s degree in Teaching Japanese and TESOL at NYU, or possibly a school in Japan that offers a similar program.
5. Name one International Studies class you’ve really enjoyed during your time at WCU. What stands out to you about that class?
My absolute favorite class that I took at Western was SOC 434: Regional and Societal Development with Dr. Hickey in the Spring of my second year at Western. For those students who want to just sit in a class with a professor that just talks to them the whole time, or has slides entirely based off of the textbook which you are already expected to read, this is not the class for you. Dr. Hickey does not do those things. This class was a wonderful place for discussion involving the issues that we were reading about in our textbook, and had many opportunities to apply such knowledge to real world contexts through assignments such as a case study—which we were allowed to choose on our own. The freedom of selection regarding the assignments, the connections Dr. Hickey made with each of the students, and just in general the topics at hand, made Regional and Societal Development my favorite class that I took for my International Studies degree.
6. What’s one piece of advice you have for INST majors who are just starting the program?
Don’t think of this as secondary to your other degree. You need to find the connections in your degrees to make your experiences in all your classes meaningful. Dive deep and get a concentration in a topic you love and are passionate about. Focusing your studies in one way or another will allow you to truly become an expert of something in the broad field of International Studies. Finally, study abroad—there are scholarship programs and financial aid is available, but it is up to you to make the most out of what you want your degree to mean and the weight that you want it to carry. Whoops, that’s more than one thing, but GOOD LUCK!
Created with images by Artem Bali - "Vintage globe close up in the antique store" • darkmoon1968 - "calendar book 2018"