Japanese exchange student Shiho Yamamoto has not only improved her English at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury), but has also learnt about many other cultures from fellow students. "I've never had the chance to meet so many different nationalities before and it has been an eye opening experience," she says.
Shiho has fitted easily into life here, forming close relationships with her classmates. "All the people are so accepting of who you are and it makes you comfortable from your first day. You can really enjoy yourself here."
She has particularly enjoyed interacting with Kiwi students who are learning Japanese. "We can practise languages with each other which has helped me to learn very quickly," she says.
Shiho's tutors have assisted her to develop excellent spoken English as well as written English. The participatory teaching style of tutors in New Zealand appeals to Shiho. "The way of teaching here gives us a lot of opportunities to 'do' and we are encouraged by our tutors every step of the way."
Outside of the classroom Shiho has enjoyed exploring Christchurch. Hagley Park is one of her favourite places, with the flowers and trees in the Botanical Gardens also appealing. "Outdoors in Christchurch is very beautiful."
She has also relished the opportunity to explore the South Island during study breaks, visiting Tekapo and Queenstown. While in Queenstown Shiho tried paragliding, one of New Zealand's adventure sports. "It was thrilling," she says. Shiho plans to share her new English skills with others when she returns to Japan. "I love my hometown Hiroshima and I want to share what I have learned here with my friends and family when I return home."