Intensive English Program

IEP students are really unique. Different nationalities, different ages, and different dreams. Are you still wondering if you should start studying English with the IEP? Please read their words!

Sachika Nojiri (IEP → HawCC → UHH graduated)

The reason why I chose IEP as my study abroad destination is the IEP’s blog. Through SNS, I was able to learn how the IEP’s classes are like, how Hilo life is going to be like in detail and I thought I feel comfortable to study there and decided to apply IEP. IEP’s classes give many opportunities to participate and talk in the classes so in the beginning, I was always nervous to go school. Throughout sessions, I got used to talk in English in front of people. Also, I started to enjoy learning English in English and I felt my understanding of English is better than when I was learning English in Japanese. IEP’s class size is small and teacher knows each student so the learning environment where you can ask any questions right away is one of the great parts of IEP. When I asked questions to teachers, they took their time and made sure I’m keeping up with their explanation.They answered to my questions very enthusiastically. I wasn’t good at writing so after writing classes, I usually stayed in the classroom and asked my teacher many questions. When I get answers to my questions and I understand things clearly, I was able to use my new learned skills/knowledge to my next home work/projects. That gave me a lot of confident to learn English. When you learn things in your second language, you will have many difficulties with the language but since I studied with IEP, I was able to handle college/university’s projects flexibly and to enjoy learning in second language. Read More

Gin Tezuka (IEP → HawCC → UHH graduated)

Before I came to Hawaii, “Study Abroad” was something that I never considered doing. My first thought when I heard the words “Study Abroad”, was about language skills. Ever since middle school, I didn’t care for English. I felt the same way through high school and college. My two-month short-term study with the IEP changed my mind and I decided to study abroad. My parents like Hawaii and they had found an article about the IEP in one of their magazines. My parents recommended that I give it a try, and that’s how my study abroad life began.When I first joined the IEP, I hardly understood English. IEP teachers are very patient and caring with beginning students. The IEP coordinator can advise students about how to enter Hawaii Community College. During those first 2 months, the coordinator taught me about the American education system and study abroad in detail, and it was easy to understand. Originally, I wasn’t thinking about studying abroad for a degree. However, with my experiences in the IEP, the study abroad information that the coordinator taught me, and above all, interactions with people living in Hawaii, made me feel like even I, who didn’t care for English study, can choose a field of study that I’m interested in and aim to get a degree in the US.When I went back home after my first 2 months of study with the IEP, I immediately consulted with my parents. Thankfully, they supported my decision to study in Hawaii. I started to prepare for my long-term study abroad. I got my student visa and came back to the Big Island 3 months later.Since then, it’s been 5 years. I finished the IEP and graduated from Hawaii Community College. After that I transferred to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and was able to graduate with 2 degrees. One is in Natural Science and the other is inn Linguistics. The Natural Science degree was my original goal when I decided to study abroad. However, Linguistics was something that I decided to study after I entered the University. Through living in Hawaii I got interested in language. Both degrees include topics that are unique to Hawaii. Thanks to Hawaii, and the IEP, where I learned the basics of college English and about the American university system, I was able to graduate.“Study abroad” had nothing to do with my life at first, but it ended up influencing my life a lot. Even though English is not your favorite subject, if you have goals to achieve, you will be able to enjoy studying abroad. You can overcome your fear of English through study abroad. To be honest, my future after graduation is still undecided. However, I have many more options after studying abroad. I learned from my experience of study abroad how important it is not to give up and to try something! Read More

Mieko Yajima (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

After I graduated from high school, I wanted to expand my world where I never seen. I used my saving from my part time job and came to the Big Island for the first time and stayed for 3 months. At that time, my goal was simply to be outside of Japan. However, the time I spend in Hawai`i gave me a new goal – study in Hawai`i. The main reason I decided to study in Hawai`i is because I was fascinated by Hawai`i’s atmosphere, nature and the local people’s life styles. Also, meeting local students made me think that I would like to speak in English better to communicate with more people. After I went back to Japan, I started to prepare for college but I wasn’t able to get enough TOEFL score as I wished so I decided to join IEP.During IEP’s 2 months session with very intense classes, I feel like I was able to learn conversation skills for daily life, college writing skills and basic of reading skills. Especially, when I was learning how to write essays with choices of topics from my interests, I was able to learn not only how to write essays with proper grammar, but also how to expand my views and values. Also, I learned the importance of thinking logically and having own opinions from all classes of Writing, Reading and Speaking. More than anything, my friends, who I wouldn’t meet if I were living in Japan, are my precious assets. Seeing my friend putting their best efforts to their dreams always makes me more motivated. I was able to complete the final level of IEP (Level 4) and I’m currently studying Liberal Arts and Digital Media Arts at Hawai`i Community College while I’m aiming at transferring to University of Hawai`i at Hilo. Studying abroad changed my world. Even from now on, I’m sure that I will face difficulties and hardships but I will challenge many different things with curiosity and I would like to develop myself. Read More

Mei Nomura (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

Aloha e kākou!

I am majoring in Hawai`ian lifestyles-Hula track at Hawai`i Community College. After I graduated from an university in Japan, I decided to study in Hawai`i to make my dream comes true. My study abroad life started from IEP because I wanted to learn academic English to study at Hawai`i Community College. Another reason why I studied at IEP is because I can enter HawCC without TOEFL iBT score 60 or more, which is the requirement for international students, by completing IEP’s final level 4. I was able to complete IEP and after entering HawCC, I’ve been learning Hawai`i culture from various aspects. I am very thankful for this place where I am able to learn Hawai`i’s plants, histories, geology, legends, spiritual culture, traditional crafts, hula and Hawaiian languages academically. At the same time, I’ve been enjoying daily school life. Since I am majoring in Hula at Hawaiian lifestyles department, many friends of mine asked me if hula major is only focusing on dancing hula. However, this major is one of the majors that you can actually get Associate in Applied Science diploma. Not only Hula or Hawaiian culture, you will need to take English, Math and other liberal arts classes in order to finish this major. Before I enter HawCC, I was worried to take those non-Hawaiian related classes, but those turned out very interesting and fun classes to me since I was able to learn a lot as an international student such as difference of class style from Japanese school and local students’ way of thinking. Also, in the hula class, I have been learning hula from Kumu Tangaro as a member of Unukupukupu, which is a part of traditional Big Island’s hālau, Hālau o Kekuhi. Including me, some of my classmates are also belonging to Big Island’s local Hālau. As a famous wise saying, Ōlelo No`eau, there is “`A`ohe pau ka `ike i ka hālau ho`okahi” meaning “everything cannot be learned from one classroom.” I have been learned hula not only in Japan but also in Hawai`i. I am learning hula not only in one Hālau but also from HawCC’s hula major from different aspects and style. I keep in my mind this old wise saying (Ōlelo No`eau) from ancestors of Hawaiian, I’m very thankful for being in this environment where I can learn Hawaiian culture. Read More

Ayako Onishi (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

Aloha mai kākou!

I decided to join the IEP Spring II Session right after my graduation from high school because of my passion for hula. I wanted to learn the hula academically, so I chose Hawaii Community College. It’s the only school in the world offering a hula-focused degree. (Associate in Arts in Hawaiian Studies Degree).
At that time, my English wasn’t quite good enough yet to get the college-entry TOEFL score, so I chose to join the IEP. First of all, the good thing about the IEP is the location. The IEP classrooms are on the Hawaii Community College campus since the IEP is part of the college. You feel like you are a Hawaii Community College student even before you enter. You also have chances to interact with college students. Another good part of the IEP is the class size. When classes are small, you can get help with all of your detailed questions. If you really focus for 2 months, you can improve your English a lot and go to the next level, or even graduate from the IEP. Also, your last class ends at 2:00 pm so you have enough time to do your homework and enjoy your hobbies. Last but not least, I think it is pretty tough to survive in a college or university if it’s your first time studying abroad. That was especially true for me, since I was living with my family until I graduated from high school, it took some time to get used to living alone. The IEP staff gave me so much support. So, for me, the IEP time was precious for that point as well. Read More

 Kyoko Yumura (IEP→ Hawaii Community College)

The first day of the IEP orientation was my 50th birthday. For the first time, I thought about how much time I have left in my life when I face the beginning of my new challenge that is about to begin.
I experienced Tohoku earthquake in Sendai and I’ve been feeling that no one is guaranteed to live next day.
How do I live my life that was given? It may sound too dramatic but when you know the time is right, you just need to go with the flow and take actions. I was actually a part-time IEP student 2 years ago so I had some ideas how the IEP life is like. However, it wasn’t easy for me to decide my study abroad as I was in a difficult situation with my family.If I keep giving reasons why I can’t do something, nothing will happen for rest of my life.
I want to learn English properly and I want to spread my opportunities of work and other life activities.
When I asked myself that how much I can do in the current life situation, I set my goal so I have enough English proficiency to enter a college in the US. That means I made myself a goal to graduate from the IEP. I planned my study abroad to be about 10 months and came to Hawaii.
Although I was worried about different things that are happening in Japan, I couldn’t do anything if I were in Hawaii. That was the crucial difference for me between studying in Japan and in Hawaii. I truly appreciate my environment where I can focus my study 100%. Studying is very difficult but I wanted to study so I was happy. I studied very hard. Then, unexpectedly, I was able to continue my study in the Hawaii Community College. Hawaii is a place where I find the joy of learning. It’s not only for English learning but all the experiences I had in Hawaii showed me a new world that I never expected to see.
When I made my first big step for my study abroad and when I was studying as an IEP student, I appreciate all the support the program gave me.
My journey is only halfway through. I don’t know where this leads to but I will keep working my best now.
Read More

 Nicola Carone (IEP)

Close your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine. Imagine a school surrounded by nature, trees and flowers everywhere. Than imagine classrooms full of qualified teachers, friendly classmates and everything you can need: PC, books, newspaper etc. Mix this factors with the Aloha spirit and… this is the IEP. I have beautiful memories in Hawaii and I miss it. My goal during this experience was to improve my English skills and it works better than what I thought. But I’m really surprised about the way IEP changed me as a man not only for my English skills. To be in contact with different cultures, to talk about me and my country trying to explain in the best way who I am and where I come from, listen to classmates from all over the world talking about their cultures, their traditions, helps me a lot in being the open-minded person I am now. Thanks to the IEP experience I gave a look to the other side of the world, I lived in a paradise for six month learning more than what you can learn staying in the same place for your all life. I felt the Aloha spirit for the first time once I arrived in Steven’s office during my first day in the school, it’s difficult to explain but I can remember everything about that day, also my feelings. I was anxious and tired after the long trip but after some minutes I was relaxed and happy to be there talking with him. It was the same every day for six month, happy to be there! Read More

Nai-Hsin Hsieh (Nancie), Taiwan (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

Hello everyone, welcome to the IEP. My name is Nancie. I’m from Taiwan. Actually, I have already been here for 2 years, and took IEP classes for one year.
After I graduated from high school, I wanted to improve my English skills. It was also my dream to study in a foreign country. That’s why I came here to study and I believe that Hawai`i is a good place to learn English. I met so many friends from different countries. When I graduate from the IEP, I will study at Hawai`i Community College. Hospitality and Tourism will be my major. It was a really good experience studying here. Of course, I am also having a lot of fun on the island! Read More

Maya Ishikawa (IEP → University of Hawaii at Hilo)

My dream is to be a geologist. When I was in junior high school, I was very impressed by the volcano when traveling on the Big Island. Since then, I have longed to study about volcanoes in Hawaii. However, my English wasn’t strong enough to take classes at the University of Hawaii. This was why I decided to study English first in the Intensive English Program. In the program, I developed basic skills for college In some activities such as the Rotary Club visit, we communicated with local people from Hilo, and not only improved in English, but also learned Hawaiian culture and history. Also, I built good relationships with other students and conversation partners. Even after graduating from the IEP, we play tennis together and have parties on the weekend. I have lots of friends in Hilo! I really enjoyed this program, and I learned many things from the instructors and the other international students. Now I study Hawaiian volcanoes at the University of Hawaii. My dream is coming true! Read More

Yossakorn Taveekaew (IEP)

I worked for a bank in Thailand for a long time, but I had been thinking to try something new. Coming to Hawaii to study English was a big decision, but I am enjoying it so much. I love the beauty of nature and the weather in Hawaii. After I improve my English, I want to study in Hawaii Community College and I want to work in a hotel as a concierge. Changing my career from banker to concierge is a very interesting experience, and I love doing something new!

Emi Kawashima (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

I enrolled in the IEP to study English, but I also had two other goals. One was to get a degree in marketing from Hawaii Community College, and the other was to get working experience in the US for my future career. In the second year of college, I started working on campus as a student employee. I also applied for OPT (Optional Practical Training) and worked on the campus even after I graduated from the college. When my OPT was going to expire, the college sponsored me to get an H1B visa. Every day I am learning something new from this experience. I can say if I had not decided to come and study in the IEP, I could not have met my goals.

Miya Shibano (IEP → Hawaii Community College)

The reason why I studied English was to apply as a senior volunteer for JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). I chose the IEP to study English because my friend knew that Hilo is a comfortable and “an old-Hawaii” town where students can focus on their studies. It was a big challenge for me because I had not studied English over 45 years. However, my wife encouraged me and let me go to Hawaii to study English. Because of my English level, I was placed in the lowest level. I was really worried if I could see my goal, but there is an IEP teacher who blew away my anxiety. She looked into my eye and said “Don’t worry, it will be fine.” I can still see her gentle eyes in my mind. All of the IEP teachers were great and they taught English very well and with patience. They were cheerful and made class fun for the students.
After I went back to Japan, I applied for senior volunteer in Honduras. I passed the test and I was chosen as an alternate. Yes, I saw my goal!
My experience of studying abroad was one of the most fun and fulfilling times in my life. First I thought I was too old to start studying English. However, now I know facing that kind of challenge is a wonderful treasure that helps me to improve myself.
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Marco Rychlik (IEP)

After I graduated from the IEP, I got 2 jobs: in a technical firm and a church.
In the technical firm, I do tool management and programming. I use my English skill to understand operation manuals for machines, and for other tasks. In the church, I use my English to listen to podcasts from churches from all over the world. Both of these jobs require my English skill, so my IEP experience works very well for my career. Studying in the IEP was a really great time in my life. People are friendly, and the IEP teachers are good. I loved the location of the classrooms which are on the college campus, and I loved the cheerful classrooms. The town of Hilo is absolutely beautiful. And, yes, Hawaii! I wish I could go back!