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Students voice(Department of Tourism)1

Japanese (TOYO Global RDS)


Truly Useful English


Graham Robson
Associate Professor
Department of Tourism
Faculty of Regional Development Studies
Toyo University

Eriko Chiken
Third-year student
Department of Tourism
Faculty of Regional Development Studies
Toyo University

ロブソン准教授 知見さん

Prof. Robson: To what extent has your English improved since you entered Toyo University?

Eriko: Mt first TOEIC score was around 400 but I got 300 points more when I recently took the TOEIC test.

Prof. Robson: It takes a lot of effort to gain 300 points. Which classes did you take?

Eriko: In the first year, I took Tourism English and the SCAT special course for TOEFL, which helps a lot.

Prof. Robson: The Tourism English class focuses on the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In your first year, you entered a speech contest held by the Faculty of Regional Development Studies. I know you improved your fluency and pronunciation in the course of preparing for the speech contest and you gained confidence.

Eriko: The topic of my speech was girls’ schools, as opposed to co-educational schools. My junior high school and high school were both girls’ schools. At Toyo University, I find myself in a co-educational institution for the first time. When I began studying at Toyo, I had so many surprises. So I referred to my own experience in my speech. When I was a high school student, I also participated in an English speech contest. But you didn’t need to write your own speech. You only needed to remember the script. But for Toyo University’s speech contest, I had to create the speech from scratch. It was tough. Before the contest I visited you two or three times a week to practice pronunciation. We shot a video, watched it, and picked up points that I could improve on.

Prof. Robson: In the second year, in the applied English class, we make more active use of English. We have more discussion and do group projects. Did you do any group work?

Eriko: Yes, a few times.In my second year, I took a vocabulary test every week to prepare for TOEIC. It was challenging. It’s important to prepare for TOEIC and improve reading skills. I like speaking and listening, but I lacked confidence when speaking English. I wanted to improve my English. So, I decided to study in the U.S. after completing the second year.

Prof. Robson: The TOEFL score is important for admissions to American universities.

Eriko: My first TOEFL iBT score was 38. It was bad. I went to a language school in California first and studied English there for five months. Then I was accepted by the university where I wanted to study. I desperately wanted to make a success of it.

Prof. Robson: In the first year when you took part in the speech contest, I noticed that you were highly motivated. For anyone trying to learn English, I think motivation is the key. What was the experience of studying abroad like for you?

Eriko: At first, I was shy. I found it difficult to talk with my classmates, who were native speakers of English. They spoke fast and I hesitated to talk with them. But I gained confidence gradually because I was staying with a host family. I talked to my host parents every evening.My host mother took me to school by car every morning. I chatted with her in the car.

Prof. Robson: Most of the study-abroad programs of Toyo University, especially those in England and Canada, offer homestay. What are the benefits of choosing homestay?

Eriko: You can experience a different culture. For example, American families go to the supermarket once a week to buy everything for the week ahead. They need a big car. In Japan, we tend to shop for today or maybe for the next day. I am also interested in Christianity. I went to church every Sunday with my host family and experienced that important aspect of American culture.

Prof. Robson: So your interest in Christianity opened doors to new people and new experiences in America. You use Facebook. So, I was able to see what you were doing in the U.S. on Facebook.

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