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Student Experiences

Nanako Horikawa

Nanako Horikawa

Academic Major: Dance

Academic Minor: Theatre

Academic STATUS: Undergraduate

Graduation Year: 2011

Hometown: Sapporo, Japan

Why did you choose to study at The College at Brockport?

Brockport has a very strong dance department and good facilities. I was also interested in various courses in the Dance department, not only Modern technique, but also the other dance styles, such as Jazz, Tap, Ballet and African dance! Also, there are classes in dance history, music, kinesiology, composition and much more! So I had a good impression of getting information about dance academically.

I wanted to come to a nice small town where I could focus on my studies. Actually, the weather is very similar to my hometown, so that is also one of the reasons why I chose The College at Brockport.

What has been your most memorable experience while at The College at Brockport?

I would say my most memorable experiences are all of the dance concerts I have performed in. I was lucky enough to pass the auditions, but rehearsal schedules were always very tough. It, of course, depends on how many dance pieces you are in or which concerts you are performing in, but I usually have rehearsals every evening during the week and also on weekends. We always say "there are no weekends, no such thing for dance majors!" But obviously that's what we do as dancers! It is wonderful to have many performance opportunities here, so basically we keep dancing throughout the semester.

I was able to commit to each rehearsal while I was doing many other assignments for classes. It is always nice to get a sense of accomplishment.

What are your classes like? Which one is your favorite?

I love all of my dance classes because each class gives me a new approach to dance, which I would probably not be able to gain in Japan. I especially learned a lot from the dance improvisation class – that we should not judge ourselves and that there are always so many possibilities. I learned many wonderful lessons like this from my other dance classes, as well, which I can also apply to my daily life.

How does school here differ from that in your home country?

I think American universities are much more flexible in terms of the admissions system and school curriculum. I heard that Japanese universities do not allow students to change their major or take classes that are not related to their major. Generally people say Japanese universities are really hard to enter but easy to graduate from.

Are you involved in any clubs, organizations or sports teams? What are those experiences like?

I am in the Student Dance Organization and worked as part of the costume committee last year. This organization provides me an opportunity to get involved in the many dance concerts we have in Dance Department.

Other than Dance Department, I am one of the International Student Organization officers (ISO Secretary). It has been a worthwhile experience for me to get involved in more school activities!

I am also in the Delta College program. I love the faculty members. They are amazing! I think the Delta program is very nice, even for international students. Delta offers classes that have an interdisciplinary approach to cover the general education requirements, for example, Integrative Learning Seminar, Human Heritage and Experience, Society and Culture, Aesthetic Experience, and Technology and Society. The program is nicely integrated, so I gained skills that are very useful, such as writing skills and presentation skills, and also Delta helps me to plan and develop my career path. 

To be honest, I did not know about the Delta program before I came here. When I heard some of the other international students were going to the orientation, I just went with them and then became interested in the program.

Do you live on campus or off campus? What has living here in Brockport been like?

I lived in one of the dorms on campus for my very first semester at Brockport, but I have been living off campus since my second semester. I like living off campus because I feel like I am more independent, but I suppose it is a matter of preference.  You can get better access to college if you live on campus. Then again, you can get your own bedroom and kitchen if you live off campus.

Prior to coming to school, what did you do to prepare for life in the United States?

I did study English as much as possible. Also I researched about the location, weather, and college life in the United States to get some ideas of how different it would be from life in Japan.  I think this is very important so that you can be prepared.

What has been the biggest challenge or struggle that you have experienced so far at The College at Brockport?

I would say everything I am experiencing here has been a challenge and struggle for me. Not only the language, but also the cultural difference. I enjoy learning the difference though! It surely broadens my perspective.

Transportation can be a problem, too. Mass transportation is not as prevalent, so it can be more difficult to get around if you are used to using mass transportation. There are a few mass transportation services though.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss my family and friends the most.

What advice would you give to international students who are thinking about attending The College at Brockport?

Brockport offers many different kinds of opportunities. If you are actively involved in the community, your life will be fulfilled. I feel like I like to put myself in a challenging situation purposely. I know I do straggle a lot, but at the same time, I truly believe the challenge always will help me to develop myself. And there is always someone who encourages you and helps you with what you have been through.

The community in Brockport provides a very friendly atmosphere. Being away from home can be a very rough experience, but I think what I am experiencing here will let me be a mature person.  If you are interested in challenging yourself and going forward, you may want to take a risk and take advantage of it.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I am still thinking, but I know I would like to have as much experience as possible so I can get more inspiration, which helps me to become a better dance artist.  One of my dreams is to join a dance company or group and have a performance tour all over the world and deliver the beauty and fascination of dance. It could be my own company, but any way I believe that the active experience I acquired at Brockport can be applied to everything in my future.

Last Updated 6/7/11