Student Blog

Finding myself during the pandemic at Canadian co-op exchange

4min read

College of Asia Pacific Studies 3rd year Honoka Furui, from Aomori Prefecture, returned to Japan in late August 2022 after completing a 9-month co-op study abroad program in Canada* from October 2021. She took a year off from APU to go on this study abroad and she told me her experiences with a smile.

From the beginning of her enrollment, Honoka-san had been set on studying abroad. She worked hard to study for IELTs in order to get a ticket to study abroad as an exchange student and getting the target score in IELTs is by no means an easy task.
However, due to COVID-19, she lost this chance. In spite of this, Honoka refused to give up. After researching all possible means, she chose a co-op program in Canada to study abroad. (*Currently, travel for overseas exchange programs has been resumed.)

She had three goals to complete while studying abroad. The first was to do activities using English. The second was to try new things and discover herself. Finally, she wanted to interact with many different kinds of people.
We asked Honoka about her experience studying abroad on a co-op program at Canada.

*What is co-op study abroad
Study in Canada Co-op is a study abroad program in Canada that includes a paid internship as part of the study abroad program.

1. What did she learn?

Honoka first studied digital marketing for five months at a local vocational school in Vancouver, Canada. It is a field related to IT. such as social media marketing, advertising, and email. She obtained four certifications, including Google Search certification and Google Analytics certification, which are related to marketing, by actually utilizing what she learned in class.

For Honoka, who studied in the College of Asia Pacific Studies instead of the College of International Management, it was a valuable experience to learn about an unfamiliar field in English. There were some difficulties, but through this marketing class, she was able to improve her English skills.

2. Challenging herself to work abroad

Study in Canada Co-op places students in a paid internship during the second half of the study abroad program. However, working overseas, including job hunting, is not easy.

Honoka, who wanted to work at Starbucks overseas, prepared an application form and went to 20 stores in person before finally passing the interview. She was able to get the position she wished for.

However, when she actually started working, there were many difficulties, including being corrected by the store manager several times.

Above all, she was surprised by the environment, which was different from Japan. At Starbucks in Canada, it was imperative to have simple communication with each customer. Although she was at a loss as to how to value her relationships with customers more, as time passed, she became able to have fun conversations. For Honoka, this work experience at Starbucks was a great investment.

3. Showing her overseas life on YouTube

Honoka first started a YouTube channel because she wanted to let other people know about the wonderful environment of Study in Canada Co-op. In fact, it was difficult to balance YouTube with her studies and work, but she enjoyed recording her life on video. “I want people to see that there are various ways to study abroad,” she says.

4. What were the difficulties of studying abroad.

There was the issue of money. Honoka-san covered her own living expenses, such as rent, while living in Canada. To do so, she worked at eateries other than Starbucks and even interned online in her spare time.

She said that studying and working were tough, but she was able to grow from it.

She achieved the three goals she set for herself: using English, taking on new challenges, and interacting with a variety of people.

5. Conclusion

The first thing I noticed during our interview was Honoka's passion. She didn't give up her dream even when the pandemic happened. I also thought that there is always another option if you refuse to give up and do research like her. Another thing that left a big impression on me was that she was able to experience working abroad while still a student.
Her ultimate dream is to run a guesthouse that connects Japan and overseas. For that reason, she is enthusiastic about continuing to take action in Japan while being conscious of her experience, encounters, and skills.
Let's all find what we want to do and work on what we can now!

Honoka's YouTube channel "Cheerul Hono”.
Lively and humorous delivery of life, classes, expenses, and part-time jobs during study abroad

Kodai Doi
Kodai Doi

Nice to meet you! I'm Kodai Doi, Beppu Onsen Master and a 4th year APS student.
As a YouTuber, I am currently sending out new content about international exchange, travel, studying abroad, etc. at APU! Through my SPA activities, I hope to provide useful information for APU students, as well as for many people outside of APU, including high school students and their parents, to read!

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