Ms. Mizuki Terashima gets confidence and dream from studying in UK 英国留学で得た自信と夢 ―敬愛学園高校3年、寺嶋美珠紀さんに聞く―


More Japanese high-school students study abroad these days. According to a survey carried out in 2015 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, high-school students who studied abroad for a period of over three months in 2014 numbered 4,197, or 300 more than the year before. It also showed that the majority of them aimed at improving their foreign language ability in studying abroad. Ms. Mizuki Terashima, a third grader at Keiai Gakuen Senior High School in Chiba Prefecture, is one of them. She studied for a year from April 2016 to March 2017 at Sheffield College in the U.K. As a result, she could raise the score of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) from 4.0 (Eiken Grade 2 level) to 7.0. (graduate school admission standard in the U.K. and Australia). Hakumon Herald interviewed Ms. Terashima to know how she carried out her aim since her childhood.

Terashima: I once lived in the U.K. for a couple of years when I was a child. After I returned to Japan, I’ve kept in touch with my friends there. One day, I found myself unable to come to English expressions when I was writing letters to them. At that moment, I realized I would easily lose my acquired language skill if I didn’t use it. So, I resumed a language study every day and started to consider studying abroad.

One of my senior friends introduced me about an overseas study program launched in 1999 by Keiai Gakuen. It is designed to dispatch its students to Sheffield College. The program had sent a total of 244 students to the college over a period of 18 years including 13 who belonged to my generation. It’s an attractive program that allows us to study abroad without putting off our graduation from high school.

Continue to use language skill

Terashima (far right) with her classmates.
Terashima (far right) with her classmates.
-Why did you think of studying abroad?

-Didn’t you feel insecure about living alone in the U.K.?

Terashima: Yes, I felt a bit insecure. But I overcame it by preparing myself for everything thoroughly. For example, I received an online English speaking lesson and challenged a qualifying exam beforehand to get myself accustomed to the life in the U.K. Frankly speaking, I had a serious concern about public security because of the confused political situation in Europe. But you can’t be 100% secure even in Japan. So, I made up my mind, telling myself, “Let nature take its course.”

Acquiring culture as well as language

Terashima (second from right) and her classmates pose for a photo.
Terashima (second from right) and her classmates pose for a photo.
-Tell us how you lived in the U.K.

Terashima: I spent weekdays studying at a language school and visiting local high schools. During the holidays, I spent most of my time with my host family. Daily classes were primarily meant for studying to prepare for English language tests. I learned bakery and IT as well as history and mathematics in extra courses. As most of classmates were adults, I spent a lot of time taking part in discussions.

-Did you learn anything new from the discussions?

Terashima: Themes which our teachers picked up varied from day to day. Based on those themes, we students were required to begin impromptu discussions. So, I could acquire the skills to construct my own opinions quickly and express them in English. Thanks to that, I could get high marks in English speaking exams. But at the same time, I keenly felt I haven’t studied enough. While I stayed in the U.K., the country was in the midst of a national debate over whether it should leave the EU or not. The issue was often a topic of our conversation. I was often asked how Japanese people looked at the issue. I was also asked to talk about the legal system in Japan and the history of its relationship with the neighboring countries. Honestly speaking, I couldn’t answer them well. That experience made me realize that no matter how I might be good in English, I couldn’t be a full-fledged person if I didn’t know much about my own country. From now on, I want to learn more about culture as well as language.

Want to contribute to world peace at UN

Terashima poses for a photo during an interview with Hakumon Herald.

-Did you think about your future dream through your study abroad?

Terachima: I have become keener to work at the United Nations as a member of the Japanese staff to contribute to world peace. I was motivated because I could get confident about my English ability after I was elected a first international officer at Sheffield College. I proposed that the school’s student council take up a lack of interchanges between foreign and local students, and talked about the English speaking society my classmates at Keiai Gakuen launched as a means to improve a similar situation. To promote our activity, I visited each classroom with a view to making a presentation about our event. I also prepared a poster about the event with other members of the student council. As a result, our activity was commended by the school authorities for having contributed to enhancing opportunities of international interchange. This made me confident that I could acquire the language ability to compete on equal terms with the locals in English. While I stayed in the U.K., I formed an image of the Japanese people being quiet and faceless, for good or bad. So, I hope to contribute to creating a new image of the Japanese through my activity at the United Nations.

-Why do you refer to world peace in connection with your dream?

Terashima: An African student once told me that he heard the guns being fired whenever he stopped his car to wait at stoplights. I think people living in an unstable society get too much preoccupied with everyday affairs to think about their study or work. Under such situation, the development of technology and society will inevitably become stagnant. I think people can learn and society can advance only in a peaceful society. As I am still immature, I have no prescription for peace. But I will study harder at college to come closer to my goal.

-Thank you.

(Interviewed by Hideki Kato)

高校生の海外留学者数が増えている。文部科学省が2015年に実施した調査によれば、前年1年間で4197人の高校生が3か月を超す海外留学を経験、前の年を300人上回ったという。さらに同調査で分かったのは、その多くが語学力の向上を目的としていることだ。千葉県の私立敬愛学園高校に通う3年生の寺嶋美珠紀さんもその1人である。寺嶋さんは 昨年4月から今年3月までの1年間、英国のシェフィールド・カレッジに留学した結果、語学試験のIELTSで4.0(英検2級程度)から7.0(英国および豪州の大学院入学条件の基準)までに語学力を向上させることができた。子供からの目標を有言実行した寺島さんに話を聞いた。



寺嶋 幼いころイギリスに2年間ほど住んでいました。帰国後も現地の友達と文通を続けていたのですが、ある日を境に英語がとっさに出てこなくなりました。その時に語学は使わなければどんどん忘れていってしまうと気付き、日々の勉強に加え、留学も考えるようになりました。知り合いの先輩が敬愛学園高校の留学プログラムを勧めてくれたのがきっかけです。



寺嶋 多少はありました。しかし、何事も準備を徹底することで乗り切りました。例えば、語学は事前にオンライン英会話や資格試験にチャレンジし、現地生活に即順応できるようにしました。欧州では政情が混乱していたこともあり、治安には不安を感じていました。ただ、日本が100%安全だと断言できるわけでもないので、「その時はなるようになる」と割り切りました(笑い)。



寺嶋 平日は語学学校と現地の高校訪問などを通し、勉強に取り組みます。休日はホームステイ先の家族と過ごすことが多かったです。授業は英語の語学資格試験対策が主でした。時には歴史や数学など、そして特別授業でベーカリーやIT技術について学ぶこともありました。私のクラスは社会人から構成されていたので講義に加え、ディスカッションをする時間が多かったです。


寺嶋 先生が取り上げるテーマは日々変わります。テーマに沿って、即興でディスカッションが始まるので、自分の意見をすぐ組み立て、それを英語で発信するスキルを身に付けることができました。その甲斐あって、スピーキング能力が測られる語学試験で高得点を記録できたのだと思います。同時に、自分の勉強不足も痛感しました。留学中はちょうどイギリスのEU(欧州連合)離脱を決める最中にあったため、自ずとそれが話題になることが多かったです。その時に日本人としての意見や、日本の法制度、隣国との歴史などについて聞かれ、うまく答えられませんでした。どれだけ英語に堪能であっても、自国のことを知らない限りは一人前ではないと、気付きました。今後は語学だけでなく教養もしっかり身に付けたいです。



寺嶋 日本代表の一人として国連で働き、世界平和の達成に貢献したいという思いが強くなりました。現地の学校初の生徒会留学生委員(International Officer)に選ばれたことがきっかけで、語学に大きな自信がついたことが大きな要因です。私は留学生と現地学生の交流が少ないことを生徒会の議題に挙げ、それを改善させるために敬愛の同級生が始めた英会話クラブの宣伝をしました。自分の足で各教室に赴き、イベントのプレゼンをするときもあれば、生徒会でイベント告知ポスターを作ることもありました。その結果、「国際交流の機会が増えた」と学校から評価されました。現地人とも対等に渡り合える語学力をその活動を通して身に付けられたと、自信がつきました。留学中に、良くも悪くも、日本人は静かで、主体性に欠けるというイメージを持ちましたが、日本人の私自身が国際機関で英語を使って活躍し、新たな日本人像を創り上げられたらと思います。


寺嶋 アフリカ出身の学生から「車の運転中に信号待ちで停まれば、途端に銃声が聞こえる」という話を聞きました。社会が不安定だと、その日のことを考えるだけで精一杯になってしまい、勉強や仕事がないがしろになり、技術の発展、社会の発展が滞ってしまうと思います。平和だからこそ、人は学び、社会の発展も実現できると思います。未熟な私には平和の処方箋がまだ分かりません。これから大学でしっかりと勉強し、目標実現に一歩ずつ近づいていきたいです。



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