Akimi Baba is an international student from Taito-ku, a town in Tokyo, Japan. Baba has always had a dream of studying in the states, yet it was Aug. 30, 2022, when she first visited the U.S.

Akimi Baba | Photo provided by Akimi Baba

Baba was a little girl when her mother told her, ‘I want you to study in a different country,’ however, she didn’t have the opportunity until now.

It took guts to study in a different country, especially one where Baba didn’t know the language all too well. On top of that, Japanese and English have different grammatical structures adding onto Baba’s struggles.

Baba faced many cultural differences, one of which is how you greet one another. In Japan people don’t greet acquaintances and say things like, “How are you?” In America, people often smile at strangers and even slight acquaintances when you see them. In Japan, people tend to look away immediately when they make eye contact, and rarely smile.

Baba said, “I really like the way we do things here in the states.” Baba likes the kindness and friendliness in America.

Student can see where the flags are of all of international students that have attended UWS.

UWS graciously helped Baba as she transitioned to the states. “I am not as good as speaking English as other international students, so I feel that the kindness of the teachers and students here give me the opportunity to improve my English,” Baba said.

At times, Baba truly misses Japan, especially her family and friends. “There are 17 different time zones between Japan and the states. It is difficult to even call my family,” said Baba. “I love my hometown, but now I live near Tokyo. It is also a very livable area.”

Baba is majoring in business administration with a minor in communications, while her major was communications at her Japanese university.

Baba isn’t quite sure where she sees herself in ten years, yet she’s happy with her decision to move to America and excited for the opportunities her new journey provides.