As a student services advisor at Utah Global, Narumi currently works with international students at the University of Utah, helping them work toward their degree while getting used to their new life in the US.
Read on to learn about her story and what you can expect if you choose to study at the University of Utah, how to overcome initial challenges as a new student in the US, and ways to make the most of your study in the USA experience.
Narumi’s Journey to Utah Global
Hailing from Okinawa, Japan, Narumi is passionate about guiding international students as they adapt to university life.
“I got to [the] United States three years ago,” she says. “Right now, I am [a] student service advisor at [the] University of Utah. Before I got this position, I was work[ing] at [a] different university in Utah as an administrative specialist in the ESL department.”
Before she arrived in the US, Narumi worked at a graduate school as an administrator in student services, and her role involved taking care of international students. As an international student herself 10 years ago, she understands and empathizes with new international students, drawing from her own experiences as she helps them navigate new challenges. As students adjust to their new living environment, Narumi’s role ensures they remain comfortable and enjoy their educational experience.
International Student Life in Salt Lake City, Utah
Narumi recommends Salt Lake City, home to the University of Utah, as a great place for international students to feel welcome — and even find cuisine and culture from back home.
Being able to enjoy foods from your home country is a great source of comfort for many students, and can make the initial adjustment period a little easier. Narumi highlights the many multicultural restaurants located in Salt Lake City, especially in Chinatown, and how students can often find delicious restaurants with cuisine from their home country.
For students seeking adventure and new experiences, Salt Lake City is also home to a wide variety of beautiful parks, entertainment hotspots, and rich historic landmarks, such as Temple Square, the Tabernacle, the Utah State Capitol, and much more. If you want to experience the great outdoors, Salt Lake City has a variety of hiking, skiing, and wildlife viewing experiences that anyone can enjoy.
Of course, the state-of-the-art University of Utah campus is an ideal place to live and study. Known for its beautiful setting, top-ranked programs, and friendly student community, the “U” (as it’s affectionately known) is ready to welcome international students — and offer support at every step of the journey.
Addressing Common Challenges for International Students
For Narumi, the most common challenge she has seen with international students is getting used to a whole new culture and environment, along with learning the language.
“Most students mention to me that [in] their first week or month of their semester, they struggle [in] class because instructors speak really fast, so it’s really hard to catch [everything] their instructors [say in] English,” she says. She also notes that for students who come from warmer climates, the weather in Utah can take some time to get used to.
From her own experience as an international student, Narumi is very familiar with culture shock, and recounts how she too worried about the language barrier at first. She encourages students to stay the course: with the right support, encouragement, and a little bit of time, the majority of international students adapt, acclimate, and thrive.
“After the middle of the semester, most students try to figure out [a] way to get used to it. Most of the students mention to me, ‘I was kind of struggling during the first week or month of my semester, but right now I’m doing well.’ Some students got a part-time job [or] joined a club,” she says.
Narumi’s Advice for Future International Students
Narumi’s primary recommendation for new international students is that they raise any type of question or concern they may have to their instructors, as well as to reach out and try new experiences.
“I always tell them, don’t hesitate to ask any question to the instructor but also to us — me and the other coordinators. I also encourage them to join clubs to make local student friends, so that they can improve their English,” she says.
With the support of student service advisors across all Shorelight universities, you can take the next step toward studying in the US with confidence, and get support every step of the way, from before you apply all the way to graduation.
Narumi says, “I think if [international students] come to the United States or leave their countries, there are so many opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds, different cultures… and we can get more experience that we can’t get in our [home] country.”
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