Andrea Wilkey, 2017 Fall Alum

Learning a new language may be difficult, but it’s worth it in the end! See what current Michigan Technological University student, Andrea Wilkey, has to say on learning Japanese from the bottom up.


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What is your name, and what is/was your major?

Hello, I am Andrea Wilkey and my major is Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University.

How did you find out about this program?

I found out about this program at my home University during a study abroad session and fair.

What motivated you to study abroad at JCMU? Was it the location, the classes, or something else?

Many people have asked me why JCMU, to be honest, I still do not know why. I have always liked the idea of JCMU compared to other programs in Japan and I am glad I went with it.

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How were classes in Hikone compared to classes at your home institution? Did you enjoy them?

The language classes were rather difficult, but I was also trying to learn a difficult language as a beginner. Most people at JCMU had previous experience that I did not have. There really is not a place to learn Japanese in the U.P. of Michigan. Even though Japanese was a little more difficult for me to learn, I did enjoy every bit of the classes itself. It did help that I had a wonderful teacher to teach me.

What were some of your favorite things about your time at JCMU?

Other than the fun classes and cultural experience I had at JCMU, I really enjoyed the trains in Japan. The trains were always on time and they were convenient in going anywhere in Japan.

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Did your experiences abroad help you when you returned home? When you entered the workforce (if applicable)? How so?

Since coming home I have yet to use what I learned at JCMU, however, I might be able to talk to a middle school class about learning Japanese. Then, in the future, I believe I will be able to hone and apply my skills in my job.

What would you say to prospective students considering JCMU?

I advise the future students of JCMU to study hiragana and katakana before arriving because it will be helpful to know them in the first couple of weeks and on. We had to learn them quickly. Also, enjoy your time at JCMU because I know I already miss it in Hikone.


We would like to thank Andrea for sharing her experiences with us, and we hope that her words encourage you to consider studying abroad yourself! For more information about Andrea’s program, please visit the Semester/Year Japanese Language & Culture program page.

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