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Desire to Learn English Education in Japan! Leveraging Career as an English Teacher in Uzbekistan


Kumamoto University (KU) welcomes a diverse array of students from across the world, each with their unique stories and ambitions. Among them is Abdirova Bibizada Sarsenbaevna from Uzbekistan, who arrived at KU last September to pursue her passion for English education at the Faculty of Education.

In an exclusive interview, we sit down with Abdirova to hear about her journey, challenges, and aspirations as she navigates through the vibrant academic landscape of KU.

Exploring New Possibilities Arising from Differences: Researching on English Education

Please tell me something about yourself.
I came from western part of Uzbekistan, which is called Sovereign republic of Karakalpakstan, Nukus city. My major is English Education. As I have been working as an English teacher within 7 years of experience in my home country, I came here to find out some similarities or differences in English education system of Japanese schools.

Were you originally interested in English?

No, I had absolutely no interest in English and zero English skills until I was in junior high school. When I was 15, I transferred to a school called “college” and started learning English there. That’s when I began to think, “English is actually interesting!” Originally, I wanted to become a designer when I entered college, but somehow, I ended up becoming an English teacher. Many people close to me, like my parents and grandparents, are teachers. I think growing up in such an environment played a part in my decision to become a teacher.

Why did you become interested in Japanese education?

One of the reasons is that our backgrounds are similar. Both my home country, Uzbekistan, and Japan are Asian countries and have English as a second language. Also, Japanese people have a culture of respecting and being polite to their elders, which is similar to Uzbekistan. Because we share many difficulties, I believe the challenges of learning English, a non-native language for both, are also similar. By comparing Japan and my home country, where we both face similar difficulties, I want to find both commonalities and differences to discover more efficient teaching methods. While two teachers can offer two different teaching styles, I think that instead of just acknowledging these differences, by sharing and discussing them, we can find new perspectives and approaches.

I think there are many universities in Japan, what was the biggest deciding factor in choosing Kumamoto University.

Kumamoto university was my choice, because of its rich history in education and of course the mild weather condition compared to other areas of Japan. I also like the culture of Kumamoto, which is just right and not too urban.

For example, I have not seen many festivals yet, but when I had just arrived at Kumamoto at the end of September, I saw the ‘Great festival of Fujisaki Hachimangu Shrine’. It was huge and fascinating with beautiful horses and chants of people who were wearing traditional costumes and dancing. Also, Spring Sakura season was so beautiful and I liked the way of people going on a picnic ‘Hanami’ and taking pictures with beautiful Sakura trees.

Anticipated New Life in Japan: Amidst Surprises and Loneliness

Are you used to living Kumamoto?

Initially, life in Japan was interesting and overwhelming for me. Because, I was waiting for this days with passion and a big interest. But, I must admit that living for so long period of time away from your family is very tough and stressing. Especially, I have a daughter, 6 years old whom I miss a lot. That is why I feel lonely sometimes. Despite this, I try to distract myself travelling to other regions of Japan like Tokyo, Kyoto and Sapporo which I enjoyed a lot.

What did you find interesting or surprising about Japan?

First thing first, I was surprised when people do not talk in the buses or trains. They keep quiet all the time. Then, I could not get used to the left side roads and lines to the entrance of the buses or trains. I should say that keeping the line everywhere is so satisfying for me, because it is stressful when all the people get crowded in front of the door, which is very common in my country. When I return to my home country, I am afraid, I will be struggling with it.

The Strength of Studying in KU Lies in its 'Supportive Environment'

Please tell us what kind of study you are doing at Kumamoto University.

I arrived at Kumamoto 6 months ago, 4 of which spent studying Japanese Language Course, which was a bit challenging for me. But, with the help of teachers, I could overcome my fears in learning totally different characters like Kanji. I am interested in continuing the courses as well. However, I should admit that the main purpose of mine was doing a research in English education. Meanwhile, I, with my professor set up the schedule for my research and classes, so I will be starting the classes soon.

What are your future career plans and dreams?

Currently, I would like to get maximum amount of information and knowledge from this study program with the support of my professor. I would like to see real school system, English language teachers’ method of teaching and of course share my own experience with them as well.

Back home, I want to present all the experience I gained here in Kumamoto University to my school so that other teachers could get something from it too.

After, I am thinking of getting Master’s degree in English education, which would help be to broaden my knowledge.

The Scene of Receiving the Certificate of Completion for Japanese Course

What do you thing good points about studying at Kumamoto University?

First of all, I would say them that studying in Kumamoto is very convenient for foreign students from the perspective of preparing documentation, having your own tutor in the face of Japanese students. Moreover, Foreign student’s office helps you so that you do not feel yourself helpless. Also, library which is huge and full of many great books for the studies, campus which is full of beautiful trees and flowers, and of course, delicious cafeteria with good price.

Are there any opportunities to interact with Japan students other than the students who are dedicated tutors?

Yes, when I started my Japanese language courses, I joined the “Kurocomi” club, where I met some Japanese students and became friends after that. We had a great time together: played games, made ‘Origami’ and chatted a lot. I have joined this club this semester as well and I hope to meet new Japanese students as well.

Please give some advice to future international students who are considering studying abroad at Kumamoto University!

I would advise them not to worry if they are thinking that studies are difficult or stressful here in Japan, but it is presented so concrete and accessible that they will enjoy both studying and leisure activities. There are some rules about garbage sorting, which might make some students confused, but they will get used to it after a month.
All in all, I do not regret coming to Japan to study and I will definitely have positive impression and memories.