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Dakota State University gives Japanese Student More Than Just an Education

With a bit of encouragement from his father Yusuke Kojima decided to study in the United States. “I’m from Japan and when I decided to come down here my father offered me that if I wanted to go down to the U-S or not, but first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and my father really wanted me to go down to the U-S because there might be better opportunities for jobs and my future if I come down here and get educated in the U-S, so that is the reason why I came down here.”

Yusuke is attending Dakota State University, but that wasn't his first introduction to an American college was in Louisville. “Right now I’m currently at Dakota State University in South Dakota and I use to go to the University of Louisville. I was there taking an ESL course, English As A Second Language and I wasn’t taking any other course there, just English.”

Dakota State University not only offers Yusuke the field of work he wants to pursue one day, but it also affords him the opportunity to enjoy one of his hobbies. “Well, my current advisor daughter was attending the University of Louisville taking a Japanese class which is where my advisor was at that time and she actually told me about South Dakota University and my hobby is skiing and she told me that if I came here I could ski down here, so I was kind of interested,” he says.

“Then I found out that South Dakota University has much more there like smaller class sizes and it is a small university so it may be a good place to go as I found out so that is the reason I came down here. [Also] I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at that time and later on I found out that they have web graphic design major so that is another reason to be here.”

Adjusting to American culture and language is a challenge sometimes for Yusuke, but academically he says he is doing fine. “The language barrier is a primary problem for me. The class itself is really nice because we have small classrooms and everyone is helpful to me, but sometimes there are words that I still cannot get like some of the U-S culture, but classes are going really good and the relationship with the faculty is nice,” he says.

“The thing is we have only twenty people in the class at most so the relationship with the faculty is really close and they can understand me well and I can understand them well so that really helps me in class.”

When it comes to the international population at Dakota State University, Yusuke says it is a small community of students. “There’s not many international students at the university probably me and another Japanese [student] is currently there. There are a few, but not many people are involved with an international club,” he says. “I’m actually the president of the international club and since it is a small university me and one other member is in the club.”

Yusuke has another year before he graduates. He says he will go back home to Japan. “Well after I graduate, I am currently thinking about going back to Japan and look for a job as a graphic designer and I am still not sure I if will work here in the States, but my plan is going back to Japan and work as a graphic designer.”

Advice Yusuke has for other international students..... “People who are just thinking about coming down here or they are not sure about it, they are scared or worried, then I say just come here and you will be fine. I know what people worry about like coming here and the language and people might be harmful to them or something, but I say everyone is nice and people usually try to understand me and understand other people so I say come here and you will be fine, just down think to hard and have fun!