International student experiences Greek life

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International student experiences Greek life

Aaron Barth, Staff Reporter

An international student joining a fraternity or sorority at Lakeland is rare compared to the number of students who join overall. Junior hospitality major Daiki Kojima is one of the few.

Kojima is a Japanese international student who came from Lakeland University Japan in January 2017. “Everything is so much bigger,” he says of America. “The cars, the houses, and the campus are huge.”

Kojima’s dream is to work in the international tourism business between America and Japan. However, being a manager of an international hotel requires strong English and Japanese, and Kojima feels that his English could use some work. To improve his understanding of English, he decided to pledge to a fraternity. He joined Mu Lambda Sigma in Spring 2017.

“Generally, we see about one student from Japan campus joining a Greek organization each year,” said Student Success & Engagement Coach Corey Roberson. “Students from Japan often don’t know much about Greek organizations and they may be hesitant to join due to bad rumors they hear.”

When Kojima decided to join, he did not understand much about what it meant to be in a fraternity. He thought it was like a school club that one would find in Japan.

Joining a fraternity was more difficult for Kojima due to the language barrier. Since joining a fraternity means socializing with the members, Kojima had a tough time understanding some words. However, he was never worried or doubtful of himself. He knew that if he worked hard, he could overcome the challenge. The work paid off, and Kojima feels he has gained a better understanding of English that he could not have learned by studying.

“I understand how the social norms of Americans differ from Japanese, and I learned a lot of new words,” Kojima said.

Kojima has until May 2018 before he heads back to Japan. Before then, he plans to join additional clubs and get even more involved. “I am excited to join several more clubs that interest me next semester and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me,” Kojima said with a smile.

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