Exchange Student from Japan Adjusts to Life in Alaska

At 17 years old, Shoko Yasuzawa from Ibaraki, Japan, came to Anchorage, Alaska as an exchange student.

Yasuzawa is shy and quiet. Japan and Alaska have a many differences, for example, the weather and how people act are very different.

Yasuzawa said, “People [Alaskans] are very nice  here but I really don’t like the weather that much because it’s dry and cold.”

“Since I’m new and shy class participation can be a challenge so when the teacher asks me a question even if I know that answer I don’t really want to answer it,” she said

In Japan, Yasuzawa is lives with six people: her grandparents, parents and a older brother.
Like many exchange students, it’s hard to get to know people because exchange students are new to the school and country, and most of the students in the school have already met and know each other.
Yasuzawa said, “In Japan, students in the same year or class, it’s not common for us to have friends from different grades. We usually stay with the people we know in the class.”

In Yasuzawa is high school, students don’t move rooms but every period there’s a new teacher who will be coming in.

“In Japan, we have our own class and most of the locker are in the classes. We don’t have the lockers outside of class like here at school [Dimond] and we don’t move classe. We stay in the same class for every subject except gym,” Yasuzawa said

Some classes in Japanese high schools are harder than in most countries, but for some exchange students classes here [at Dimond] are harder because they don’t usually speak English.

Yasuzawa explained, “Some classes like math and science are easier here than in Japan. Because the classes here are in English, it harder for me.”

Schools in Japan have strict rules which apply to all students and teachers. Most of the rules are about school uniforms, some hairstyles and shoes.

Yasuzawa said that schools in Japan  have their own uniforms. Because her school is public students bought their own, but they have to match what the school requests.”

Yasuzawa was on the volleyball team in high school in Japan. She will also be participating here at Dimond on a JV team.

Yasuzawa said “I was on a volleyball team in school at Japan and passionate about it. I also have studied piano since 4 years old and I’m still continuing it.”

The sport that is important and special in Japanese high school is baseball. High school baseball is always on TV and they have their own tournament.

“Baseball in Japan is  more important than other sports. We don’t have games or matches only tournaments. Volleyball and soccer are popular too, but not as much as baseball,” explain Yasuzawa

After graduating Yasuzawa plans to attend university in Japan and will be majoring in environmental engineering.

Yasuzawa said, “I want to be a researcher for Japan government and help develop the country even more”

Yasuzawa is a senior at Dimond High and she will be graduating at Dimond, but after going back to Japan she will also be graduating there.