UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Hibiki Isogai

Hibiki Isogai, from Japan, shares his experiences of studying the UCL Summer English course.

Summer English Student Hibiki

What country and town are you from?

I am from a city called Yokohama, near Tokyo, in Japan.

Where do you study?

I am in my fourth year at Waseda University in Japan.

What are the main differences between studying in your school and studying at UCL? 

The purpose of learning is different. Unlike Japan, I felt that the motivation to study in the class was high. Students were very keen to participate. I did a research project and in order to complete the tasks I had to conduct some interviews. I was surprised by how kind people were when asked to answer my questions. In Japan, this task would have been harder to complete because interactions with strangers are harder.

Why did you choose to study the UCL Summer English Course? 

I had the choice to study over the summer in a European country. I had always wanted to experience for myself the differences between Japan and the European countries’ culture. For example, in Japan, the buildings are principally made of wood and I wanted to see the European buildings made of stone. I also wanted to visit the country where football has the Premier League! Finally, I really needed to improve my English skills. 

UCL Summer English Student

What have been the highlights of the course so far and why? 

I particularly enjoyed the research project because it combines two skills I had not developed before: interviewing and presenting in front of an audience. In a group of five, we explored the changes that social networks are going through in different countries.

I went to see the musical "The Lion King" and I enjoyed it so much that I actually decided to book another musical and go by myself, so tonight I will see "Wicked!" We also took a visit to the East End of London and that was my favourite visit. The streets are different from central London and so it the atmosphere and the landscape. At least this is very different for the eyes of someone who comes from Japan.

What skills have you developed on the UCL Summer English Course? 

Before attending this course, I could not communicate in English spontaneously. If any non-Japanese person would speak to me, I would be blocked and not willing to reply. Even if 3 weeks is too short to become fluent, it definitely helped me to become more assertive and confident. At the end of the day, we cannot live alone and interaction is key. 

The interaction with other students was not an easy task because of pronunciation! In order to understand each other at the beginning we used body language and a lot of repetition. I really challenged myself and continued eagerly and in the end, the interaction became a real pleasure. 

What advice would you give to a student who wants to do the UCL Summer English Course next year? 

Do not be scared about speaking to other foreign students. Challenge yourself, take part in activities, and do not refuse to go before you do try them. If you can you, should visit other neighbouring countries on the weekends.