International Student Notes Differences in School Here, School in Japan


Frannie Wied, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy is excited to welcome our newest foreign exchange student all the way from Japan, Manami Hikita. Hikita is a sophomore and is considering staying at NDA until graduation. 

Hikita is from Sendai, a city in the Tohoku Region of Japan that is home to over one million residents. It’s known for being one of the cultural centers of Japan. The small town of Green Bay must have been quite a shock for her when she stepped out of the plane!

Hikita decided to become a foreign exchange student because she had an interest in the education that was offered in the U.S. She also thought that it would be a good opportunity to be immersed in a different culture. So far, her biggest challenge has been the difference in school systems in Japan and the U.S. 

In Japan, Hikita couldn’t pick which classes she wanted to take, and this is something that she appreciates about NDA. She’s excited she gets to pick classes that are interesting to her. 

“I was very confused when I first came to school because the system in Notre Dame was very different from the school I was going to in Japan. It was very challenging for me to get rid of it,” Hikita. 

Prior to coming to NDA, Hikita had been to the US once while in elementary school. She said that if she could tell everyone one thing about her home country, it would be how beautiful it is. 

“There are many places where we can see beautiful nature. It is very nice to visit and take pictures or go shopping,” she said. 

Hikita has been learning English for ten years, and this is something that she wants to try and improve while in the U.S. Although she says she doesn’t feel fluent in English yet, anyone speaking to her wouldn’t know the difference. 

“It was hard to learn English because I don’t speak English usually, like in my house and in school. I don’t know about feeling fluent in English. I want to increase my fluency while I am staying here,” said Hikita. 

Her biggest worry coming to school at NDA was having to speak to new people, but it was also something that she was most looking forward to. 

“I am looking forward to talking with many people here. I was worried about talking with people, but everyone in this school is so nice, so I am not worried about it anymore,” she said.