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Greetings from Sheboygan!
My name is Yui Kaneko. I am 23 years-old. I grew up and spent over 20 years of my life in Tokyo, Japan. I had completed my associate degree at Lakeland College Japan in 2006 and moved to Wisconsin to finish my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology. I graduated from Lakeland College in the spring of 2008. Immediately after the completion of the undergraduate school work, I started working at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which is located in Howards Grove, WI. I loved working with the kids and being responsible for my tasks. Although I was satisfied with my life in general, I always knew that I could do something more to it. That was when I decided to go back to school for my master's degree in Counseling for higher education. It has been almost 2 months since I have started the master's programs at Lakeland. A lot of information that I hear in class is new to me and I'm literally learning something new in every single class period.
One of my career goals is to become a counselor specifically for the international students in the States. I, myself as an international student here at Lakeland, have faced many difficulties and I am planning to use the hardship that I had been through and overcome as my strength and "tool" to help other international students that are or will be in the situation where I was back in the day J Thanks to Lakeland College which has a large population of diversity, I became a multicultural person in terms of language, customs, norms, and food J Here are some important tips for you to keep in mind to make your new life easier in the States.
Amazing Professors in the Psychology Department!
Dr. Stroot or Dr. Helion will be your advisor if you are a Psychology major. GO TALK TO BOTH OF THEM when you get here - you don't have to have anything to talk about with them but just go say hi. I have been a student for about 20 years in my entire life and I truly believe that they are the best teachers EVER!
Their offices are on the 2nd floor in Chase and they have a welcoming atmosphere. If you ever want to talk to them about anything, they are willing to set up an appointment with you - guaranteed! You could even try to visit them out of no where and they would talk with you for a little bit if it was an emergency. You have to make a move by yourself first if you ever need help because if you do tens of thousands of people are out there for you to help!
It might be a good idea to email either of them before you go visit them in person if you are nervous.
Make sure you contact your academic advisor frequently about your classes or future plans - not only for the registration purpose! Also, if your advisor says a certain class is hard for you to take at the moment try to listen to her. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow especially if it is your very 1st semester here at Lakeland. You will be busy with the adjustment to the new life in the United States anyway J
If the description of the class says "writing intensive," you would not want to take the class in your first or second semester. It is also not going to be a good idea to take two writing intensive classes at a time. If that is necessary, which happened to me, all you need to do is to write a bunch of paper throughout the entire semester for 2 classes! But if it was optional, I would highly recommend not taking 2 writing intensive classes at a time. The examples of the writing intensive classes are: CORE III, Cognition and Learning, or History in Psychology.
Many students try to order their textbooks online because it is usually much cheaper than the ones from the book store on campus. However, you have to be VERY careful with the online purchase. It does not give you a concrete date that you will be able to get the books; "within 6 to 14 business days" is not accurate enough for you as a student who wants to make sure that you have the books by the 1st day of class! Also, sometimes the seller cancels the order for some reason without any notice for the buyer, which just happened to me last month. So the important thing to always keep in mind is to make sure that you give a plenty of time for the books to come to you if you order them online. Otherwise, I would recommend the book store on campus because you can get the textbook right away.
LC Shuttle Buss
I am sure many of you won't have a car when you get here - it is very frustrating. Some international students say it's not worth buying a car if you will be here for only 2 years, whereas others think it makes your life much easier if you have a car to drive. I personally believe both ideas make sense. That's when you use the LC shuttle service! The shuttle takes you anywhere in the Sheboygan area pretty much everyday. All you need to do is call up the shuttle driver and set up a reservation. The drivers are unbelievably nice and are used to talk to the international students because majority of the users are the international students. I used the shuttle A LOT when I didn't have my car yet when I had to go to the bank, internship, or even just Walmart JIt is one of the best services that you will find very useful here at Lakeland. On the top of it, it's absolutely free! Why not you take advantage of it?? J You can reach the shuttle drivers at 920-627-0882.
Tip at a Restaurant
Something that confuses and scares you when you go out to eat is the tip system because, as we all know, there is no such thing as "tip" in Japan. The rate of tip varies depending on what state you are in -15% of your total amount is considered as average in Wisconsin. If you get a really good service, you are more than welcome to leave 20% of your total as a tip for the server. It took me forever to figure out the amount of tip that I need to leave because I am not good at math what so ever. You will get used to it though! There is nothing to worry about J Usually, people leave the tip on the table as you leave or you can also put it on your credit card.
It's easy to forget to tip your server because, as I said, you are not used to the whole tip system yet. Keep that in mind please - tipping is a very important part of life in the States. The only time that you don't necessarily tip the server is when you place a to-go order. For example, you make a to-go order of a pizza and go pick that up. You will still see the "tip section" on your receipt but you can just cross that out and put the actual total amount where it says total. As I said, you will get used to it as time goes on. So don't be scared J
Cell Phone vs. Land Phone
The cell phones are one of the biggest parts of our lives today wherever you go. It is very convenient if you have one but I am not quite sure if you need one right after you get to Lakeland. It is because I am assuming that most of you will be living on campus and be able to use the land phone. The interesting thing is that the phone calls from the land phone are absolutely free as long as the calls that are you making are domestic which means it excludes the international phone calls. I couldn't even picture myself not having a cell phone when I first got here because my cell phone was nothing but everything for me in Tokyo. However, I noticed that I can use the land phone for free and many of my friends were living on campus so I did not even need a cell phone as much as I thought I would.
If you really think it is necessary to have a cell phone that is fine, because it is true that having a cell phone makes your life easier. But my point is you are not going to want to pay $50 a month for your cell phone which you barely use. Also, many of you will not be able to work here in the states as much as you could in Japan. A cell phone is useful but not necessary at least until you move out of a dorm.
Buy the international phone card just in case some emergency thing happens. Many international students here use Skype or some sort of free phone line programs to communicate with their family and friends, which is no problem. However, there are some times that you need to call your home immediately and have no access to the internet. As long as you have the international phone card with you, you are fine because you can use the card to make a phone call from anywhere you are - from the public phone booth, your friend's cell phone or house, the land phone. It is very convenient and reliable. You will find the cards at the bookstore on campus, Walmart, Target, and the Piggly Wiggly. Make sure you get the international one though! There are some domestic versions of exactly the same phone cards out there.
If you are looking for nothing specific to buy, just go to Walmart and look around. They have pretty much everything that you can think of: grocery, stationary, bedding, mechanical stuff, photo booth, auto section... If you need some art supplies go to Michael's, which is by Target, or Hobby Lobby, which is by the mall in Sheboygan. The closest grocery store from Lakeland is the Piggly Wiggly in Howards Grove. It's only a 5- minute drive from the campus. I live right behind of the Pig J
If you go to Milwaukee, which is a 45 minute to 1 hour drive from Sheboygan, you will be able to find some good malls.
Roommate(s) - your hall director or an RA on your floor
Physical (health issues) - Sherry the nurse in the Career Development Center
(in the basement of Brotz Hall x1523 ).
Mental (sad, scared, worried, insomnia) - school psychologist
in the Career Development Center
Computers - IT department in the basement of WAK (x1643)
Other important things to remember…
Always carry your ID with you.
Carry some cash with you when you go out in case the store or restaurant doesn't accept a credit card at all.
Be familiar with your personal checks or checks in general - how to use, write, and cash them.
Stay warm and have fun! J
Foreign Language Study Tips
Learning English takes time and a lot of practice - there is no lie about that. But that will make a difference in the end is your attitude and willingness toward learning!! Here are some language- learning tips that I always keep in my mind even today!
1. SPEAK ENGLISH EVERY DAY!
Language learning, especially when it comes to speaking, is cumulative: SPEAK English 10 or more times everyday. There's no way to make up oral participation and practice by reading the book.
2. BE PREPARED TO MAKE MISTAKES.
Show your sincere attempts to communicate with native English speakers! I almost guarantee that no one will ask you to shut your mouth when you try to say something in class and your point did not come out the way you wanted to. Even when teachers or other students did not understand what you were saying, they would take a guess at what you are trying to say and ask you if that is what you meant to say. I understand how scary it is for you to speak out in class - you feel like you have 20 million butterflies flying in your stomach. But don't be afraid to make mistakes while participating in class, but learn from the mistakes that you do make. Your first task is to be able to express your opinion, not to speak perfect English.
3. TRY NOT TO MUMBLE
I understand it is hard to speak out when you don't know a right pronunciation of a word and you are going to want to just mumble so that you don't have to say the word clearly. THAT IS WORNG! First, you should say the word aloud even if you think the right pronunciation of the word might be different. If the person didn't understand you, DO NOT say "never mind" but try to say the word in a different way (e.g., a broom = something you sweep the floor with, a star = a little shining object that you see in the sky at night).
4. BEGIN TO THINK IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
Try to take in English as the way it is without translating everything from your native language. Translating is time-consuming and this is one of the significant reasons that it takes long time for the words to come out of the foreign students' mouth in English.