Featured Student

Kaori Nakamura

2/16/2012  8:00 am


Kaori in ChinaAcademic Program

I study Chinese with East Asia as my area studies. My Thematic Area is Wealth and Poverty focused on International Business. I am pursuing the CIBER Certificate in Global Business Culture in addition to the Business minor.


Extracurricular Activities

For my first two years on campus, I was involved with Japan Intercultural Network, and I was the Cultural Chair last year. We held events throughout the year to offer students an opportunity to experience Japanese culture.

I am also a Global Studies Leader and I provide support for students in the Global Studies major as well as serving as a liaison between the GS administration and students.

In addition to this, I’ve held several part time jobs on campus to help finance my college experience.

Last summer, I also taught English at New Oriental School in Wuhan, China through an internship offered through a student organization on campus called AIESEC. AIESEC is a global organization that creates partnerships with companies and organizations in countries all over the world to create internships and then matches university students with these opportunities.

Future PlansKaori with her tutor

My plans for the future are still up in the air. I definitely see myself back in China in the near future. Post-graduation, I may return to China to take an internship for a year or so. I also hope to find a job in the states perhaps in the area of human resources that will allow me to utilize my experiences in China. In the future, I am thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and starting my own business.


Advice for Incoming Global Studies Students

Go abroad early, and go as many times as you can. In addition to studying abroad, think about working abroad as well. These two experiences are quite different from each other and are each rewarding in their own way. Also, instead of sticking to the major cities of a country, try going to a less famous city.


Fondest Undergraduate Memory

Teaching in Wuhan,Kaori with her students China was an amazing experience for many reasons. My students ranged from middle school to high school students but they were very friendly and wanted to get to know me on a personal level and really understand American culture. I probably learned as much about them and their culture as they did about me.

Since Wuhan is a less famous city in China, there were more challenges, but it made things more interesting. From dining to shopping to taking a taxi, I experienced culture shock everywhere! There were fewer people in Wuhan who spoke English, but they were very friendly and always asked where I was from, etc. Compared to Beijing, I felt that there was less regulation in Wuhan, so I was able to experience a more authentic China full of night markets and motorcycle taxis in Wuhan!

Another great thing about my time in Wuhan was my co-workers. I had Chinese co-workers who really helped me get by my first few weeks in China. There were also 10 other foreign teachers there with me from all over the English speaking world!


Most Challenging Moment as an Undergraduate

My most challenging moment as an undergraduate would be the first few weeks of Chinese class when I was studying in Beijing. We had dictations of an average of 50 words a day, which was a lot compared to the average 40 words a week at U of I. I was having trouble keeping my grades up and following the course material. It would take me several hours to prepare for class because I had to look up almost half of the words in the reading every night because I didn’t recognize the characters.

I talked to my teacher about moving down a level but she urged me to stay in the class for three more days. Luckily, my study abroad program matched each student with a Chinese tutor and I met with her that week. She helped me through the readings which saved me a lot of time and I was able to focus my energy on learning the vocabulary words for dictation. I gradually improved my Chinese and expanded my vocabulary so I had less trouble with the readings. I’m really grateful for my tutor’s patience because if it weren’t for her, I would have probably moved down one level and my Chinese would not be at the point it is now.


Additional CommentsKaori on her first motorcycle taxi ride

Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t give up too easily. Going abroad can be challenging because you have to consider money, graduation, etc. but there are many opportunities to go abroad while you’re in college that you will no longer have once you graduate, so take advantage of them!

 You may contact Kaori at knakam2@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like further information