Kazuko Ugai, School of Human Nursing

My Diary at NMU and What I Think Now in Japan
Kazuko Ugai, school of Human Nursing

I'm Kazuko Ugai, majoring in Human Nursing. I'm interested in international nursing. I thought English is necessary for my future, so I started to study English very hard to go to Michigan when I was a sophomore. Finally, I was given a chance to study in Michigan when I was a senior nursing student. I was in Northern Michigan University from August 2008 to May 2009.
The following are from my diary.

December, 2008

Ugai 1 Four months have passed since I came to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. In summer, we can swim in Lake Superior just ten minutes walk away from NMU. At the beginning of this semester, I had an orientation and registration for my classes. I took English classes to improve my English skill first. However, it was so hard to follow the English that teachers were using, because it was too fast for me; so my brain got tired and almost exploded after every class. I even didn't know how to ask my questions in English. Then I often used office hours to talk with my professors.
Ugai 2 My first friend was my roommate, Jenni, from Finland. She was also an exchange student, and English is the second language for both of us. It was a good practice for us to talk in English. I made many friends there, and they were kind to help me when I had troubles. I worried about becoming homesick before coming here, but I did not get it, since I had much fun with my friends. I got used to this new life gradually, and my English has improved little by little.

February, 2009

Ugai 3 A day when every class is cancelled because of heavy snow is called "Snow Day". We had four snow days so far this semester. It was lucky that we had a lot of free time without going to class, though we could not get out of our dorm because of heavy snow. Snow here is different from what we have in Japan: it is drier and like powder. I tried snowboarding last week for the first time. It looked easy just seeing people snowboarding, but when I tried, I fell down many times.

The following are the classes I took in my second semester.

English 111

This is was a basic English class. Students were required to write five different types of papers. I often used the Writing Center, where students can get advice from tutors about writing papers.

Nursing 435

This was the final class that nursing students were required to take. This far, we learned nursing ethics, a variety of cultures, life-prolonging treatment, and so on. Sometimes we had assignments, and I finished them with help from other nursing students.

Art Drawing 120

We used students and sometimes other objects as models to learn drawing pictures in class. This class was not just a lecture, so I enjoyed drawing many varieties of pictures.

Political Science 206

This was about international relations. It is about the study relating to politics, cultures, nations, and so on.

What I learned in my NMU life

Ugai 4 Nine months at NMU have passed very quickly. I don't know if you can believe it or not, it was like just a night after I departed from Japan. I have not had such a meaningful time ever, so I realized the preciousness of time. One of the best things that I have got in Michigan was to have come to know many people from all over the world. I met people from different countries, and their cultural differences were very interesting and educational for me. We were a big international family. I'm looking forward to seeing them again and I hope to make myself a more rounded person when I meet them again. At NMU, I met many students who were middle-aged or over. It's not so common for over middle-aged people to study at a Japanese university. But in Michigan, I saw people who got chances and challenged to study, and it was not a big matter how old they were. It means that people can get chances to study anytime. Life is long, so it would be good for people to learn anytime they want.
Ugai 5 My English has improved a lot there, especially listening and speaking comprehension. However, it is far from my ideal English as I often make mistakes. I need to make much more effort and take time to polish up my English. I keep learning English, since these experiences in Michigan have made me motivated for achieving my dreams in the future.