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Akio KatoAkio Kato
Shiga, Japan
Gifu Shotoku University, Majoring in English
University of Otago Language Centre

“My university gave me four country options for study; Hawaii, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I thought there were too many Japanese speakers in Hawaii, Canada was too cold and Australia had too many other students from Japan. I chose New Zealand as I thought there would not be too many Japanese people there as I really wanted to improve my English.

When I arrived in Dunedin I saw lots of fields and sheep, and I liked it. I don’t like big cities and busy lifestyles. I really love the lifestyle here in Dunedin. My host mother is very funny and friendly. Her daughter is nine and very energetic. She and I get on well. I go out with students who have kiwi friends and I learn words I won’t learn in school in Japan because of the focus on grammar and sentence structure there. Most Japanese people want to speak correctly and perfectly in English but don't have the confidence.

In the first week of class I had a teacher who gave me lots of homework. In the second week I learnt lots of lovely and useful phrases. Another teacher was very funny and enjoyable and I learnt how to make jokes and be friendly. I have met lots of people in the Language Centre and I have learnt lots of greetings in foreign languages like Spanish, Korean, French, Chinese and Arabic. If I have the money and time I want to come back and if I can get a job I would like to live here.”