I am Inori and I am from Japan.
Since 2016 I have been studying at the University of South Wales. Before this I was studying a foundation degree in Coventry which is located in the West Midlands, in England. I was going to stay in Coventry but I realised that I wanted to study something else, so after I finished my course I applied and was accepted onto the course in Wales.
I now have experience of living in both England and Wales, and I have faced difficulties living in these two different places as an international student. When I was in Coventry I had to get used to the British accent, but when I moved to Wales I had to get used to a whole other accent! On top of this all my course mates were from different parts of the UK or Europe, so my first few weeks in Wales were a nightmare.
Wherever I go there are only a few other Japanese people, so I do not have more than two Japanese friends in my university. Fortunately, I love to talk to people so I am able to make many friends from different countries.
One of my big culture shock experiences, when coming to the UK, was seeing the different religious believers from different countries. For example, it was the first time in my life that met Muslim people. Japan is not as multi-cultural as the UK, so the only religions and religious places I had seen were Shintoism and Buddhism.
I am a Christian, but in Japan this is a minority religious group. So it is wonderful for me to experience and see many different cultures and it is good to understand more about different faiths.
I met a Friends International staff worker at the university Christian Union’s meeting, and that’s how I was able to connect with a local church. Sometimes his family invites my international friends and me to their house for a meal or to do a Bible study. It blesses me and encourages me so much to see how important it is for everyone to hear gospel, which is the message of Jesus.
I have one more year left to finish my course and I am so glad that I am here right now. I thank God for this.