Name Mitsuko KIMURA
Faculty Discovery Program for Global Learners
Dormitory International Student Shared House
Period of stay September 2022 to March 2024

Why Did I Apply?

I applied for International Student Shared House for two reasons. One is that I wanted to be in an English-speaking environment in order to maintain my English skills.
Before enrolling Okayama University, I had spent five years at a local school in the U.S., and my English skills were good. However, I was worried that my English skills would decline because I was taking classes in Japanese and did not get many opportunities to speak English on my own. Therefore, I decided to apply because I thought I needed Share House where I could have a chance to speak English as much as possible. 
The other reason was because I was interested in the idea of living together with someone. I lived alone for the first year, but every time I heard about friends living in Share House, I thought it would be fun. I usually like talking to people and helping international students, so I decided to apply! 

Good Things about Living in International Student Shared House

One of the best things about living in Share House is that there is always someone to share things with.
During the time I lived there, I was job hunting, so having someone to talk to was a great support for me. There were times when I felt depressed, such as when my job interview didn’t go well, but when I opened the door, my roommate would ask me if I was okay and say, “Good job”. That was the environment I needed and appreciated in that situation. When I told them about my difficulties in job hunting, we talked about the differences and difficulties of job hunting in each country until about 1:00 at night, which is a very good memory for me now! I think I was truly blessed with friends during my time at Share House, as we all stayed up late at night discussing problems with family, exams, and love life, in addition to job hunting, of course.  

How Did My Experience at Share House Affect Me? 

I think that living with international students from other countries has given me a new perspective on life in Japan. 
Over the past year and a half, I have lived with international students from more than five different countries. Seeing the freshness of their daily life in Japan made me reevaluate Japanese culture and customs. For example, seeing them impressed by things that we Japanese use in our daily lives, such as a double-door refrigerator and an electric kettle, I felt as if I was having a cross-cultural exchange with them while I was in Japan. On the other hand, while helping them with the move-in procedures, I was made aware of the complexity of the system and how often we rely on explanations in Japanese language only. It gave me an opportunity to look at the positive aspects of my own country as well as points that could be improved!

How Do I Want to Use This Experience in the Future?

I plan to work for a company that develops infrastructure overseas in order to become a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world. I would like to make use of the communication skills and cross-cultural understanding I have developed through living with people from different cultures at Share House when I actually work overseas! 

Message to Applicants

The advice I can give you is, “Always tell your roommate when you don’t like something or when you are in trouble!”. 
Some roommates did not clean our rooms or did not cooperate in taking out the trash. However, you don’t need to be considerate and say, “I’ll do it because I’m a roommate from Japan”. I have also met several people who have not been able to communicate well with their roommates, and this has caused them stress. It’s not that you need to be patient, but rather, in order for both parties to be able to live comfortably, it’s important to “always tell your roommate when you’re uncomfortable or in need of help”! I think it is necessary to practice the following when living in Share House. Although English proficiency is a plus, it is more important to have the desire to communicate. As a senior Share House resident, I am always here to support you! 

And my message is that if you are at all interested, you should definitely apply!
When I applied, when I interviewed, and when I moved in, I was worried about everything until I got in. I was actually thinking about applying for the April move-in before I moved in in September, but I couldn’t make up my mind and missed out on applying. However, once I actually started living here, it was a year and a half full of happy memories that made all my worries seem like a lie. Living together with people who grew up in a different culture and do not speak the same language may seem quite a challenge. However, there were many things I could learn because I was in such an environment, and I think it was a necessary experience for me before joining the workforce. In fact, my experience at Share House gave me the confidence to say, “I can do it anywhere now!”. If you are interested in international exchange, studying abroad, or trying something new, even if just a little, just give it a try!