Student Blog

That’s why I’m an RA

3min read

At APU, many students work as student staff. Among them are Residents Assistants (RAs)* who support students who live in on-campus international housing, AP House, and Teaching Assistants (TAs) who work in classes.
This time, we interviewed Naiki, College of Asia Pacific University 2nd year, who is an RA and LTA (Leader Teaching Assistant) about his job as an RA. Let’s ask him about his campus life!

Naiki Shimizu from Kanagawa Prefecture

I want to do something in an international environment!

SPA:Why did you want to become an RA?

Naiki:I wanted to do something in APU’s international environment. I wanted to expand my opportunities interacting with international students outside of the classroom as well as try living together with people who spoke different languages and had different values. When I was thinking what I could do outside of class that was APU-like, I realized “RAs get to understand others better by living alongside them!”
In fact, in addition to giving daily support to the residents, we prepare procedures for moving in, plan floor events, etc., so I interact with international students in various ways. For the move-in procedures, RAs manage the rooms and make sure students move in on time, which is quite hard work. With COVID-19, I needed to be able to adapt as the situation required.

Is being an RA tough?

SPA:Isn’t being an RA difficult?

Naiki:To tell the truth, it is difficult. However, I feel like I’ve grown from it and I felt fulfilled each day.

SPA:What exactly was difficult?

Naiki:The language and cultural barriers. Also, communication. Compared to international students and English-basis Japanese students, my English was lacking, so I struggled to convey what I wanted, and I had to think about how to get across my meaning while talking.

At AP House, we have rules so that everyone can live together comfortably. For example, separating the trash. In AP House at night, we have kitchen duty, or cleaning duty, and at the end, all the floormates gather to take out the garbage. At that time, RAs must check everyone’s personal trash is correctly separated and if not, we have them take it out and sort it correctly. Sometimes the garbage trucks don’t accept the trash bags and RAs will have to separate them again.

When I first started as an RA, warning people about these things was hard for me. I had to warn students the same age as me and there were people who didn’t listen at all, so I had to say it strongly. I was always thinking about how I could improve the situation.

So, everyone, when you enter AP House, please separate your trash!!!

I felt I had grown.

SPA:Certainly, it’s hard to break down language and cultural barriers. Just now you said you felt that you had grown. How have you grown during your past 2 years as an RA?

Naiki:My English skills and my communication skills have improved.
There are usually 2 RAs, one Japanese and one international student, assigned to one floor. Unfortunately, I became an RA during the pandemic when there were very few international students, so I was paired with other Japanese RAs. So, you may be wondering how that contributed to my English skills. At AP House, there are some English-basis Japanese students in addition to international senpai RAs, so opportunities to use English multiplied and my listening skills really improved! Even so, I would have really liked to have been paired with an international RA at least once.

Communication skills

Naiki:In the end, whether it was English or Japanese, I came to consider how to make it easy for the listener to understand me and speak while reflecting on myself objectively.

To those who want to become an RA

Naiki:I think it will be a great opportunity. By being in a multicultural environment, you will grow, and it is rewarding to do work to help fellow students. If you are thinking about becoming an RA, you should aim to make it a fun place for the residents!!

*One or two Resident Assistants (RA) live on each floor of AP House and provide a range of support to new residents including helping them to adjust to campus and Beppu life. RAs are there to welcome and help new residents to adjust to House life by explaining the House facilities and residential rules, planning a range of House events, and offering the support new residents need to get the most out of their life at AP House.
If ever residents have concerns or problems adjusting to life at APU or Japan, RAs are always ready to offer their support. You can rest assured that the RA team will do their very best to support your House life. International students from 48 countries and regions account for 49.7% of the 1,021 residents in AP House 1.2, located on campus (May 1, 2022)

For more information about AP Houses and RA, click here.

Mizuho Ueno
Mizuho Ueno

Hello, everyone! My name is Mizuho, and I am a 4th year student in the College of Asia Pacific Studies. My hobbies are dancing, getting in touch with nature, and playing with animals! I used to do aikido, so I'm strong! :) I hope to interact with many people through SPA activities!

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