Shining a light on an international voice: A look into the life of Momo Yamashita

Looking at the student body at RWU, it is easy to assume that most students come from nearby places like Connecticut, Massachusetts and even from Rhode Island itself. However, the university does boast some international students who come from different areas around the world.

 Momo Yamashita came from Japan to study at RWU. She is a sophomore studying international relations. 

 According to Yamashita, within classrooms in Japan, students cannot talk and therefore, must listen to whatever the teachers say. She stated that she does not like the way she could not speak her mind there. This is one of the reasons why she moved to the United States.

 “Americans have the freedom to discuss opinions,” Yamashita said. 

 In order to attend a school in Japan, one must take a placement test, and where they are placed is dependent on the score. Aspects of schools are much more serious in Japan than they are here.

 “School is more chill in America,” Yamashita said. “I am more work-driven in Japan.”

 To go from living in such a large city to this small town is like living on different parallels. This gives her a new perspective as to how to live in an area where transportation is necessary. She has no car on campus, which means she has to take extra means to go into town and truly experience Rhode Island and its beauty. 

 “I wish to walk around in a city but I cannot do that here,” she said. 

 According to Yamashita, RWU does a fine job at welcoming international students. Here, she gets a fresh start and no judgement. She feels that America is more open minded about international students than other cultures. 

 “There is a really good international program here, [the university] make it easy to make friends,” she said.

 Due to her warm welcome at RWU, she does not worry about what people think of what she says anymore. Yamashita’s social life consists mostly of hanging out with the other international students at RWU, as well as her peers that she has met in classes. The people she has met invite her out with them and do not single her out as an international student. To them, her race and ethnicity do not matter, and she is a student all the same.