Toshitaka Zenimoto, international and current Foundation Centre student, reflects on living and studying at Durham University.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
I am Toshitaka Zenimoto and I’m 19 from Tokyo in Japan, where I was born and where I grew. When I was 15 I went to the Utah in the US for 1 year to improve my English and I had a great time, and this made me want to study abroad again, especially as my English had really improved by this.
Toshitaka outside University College
Why did you choose to study in the UK?
Last summer I began thinking about studying physics abroad, and I was thinking about the US again, but I felt that the UK system was a better fit for me because of the history and because it’s also an island like Japan! I really liked the English traditions which remind me of Japan and this is when I started looking at Durham University and its colleges.
What was the biggest differences when you arrived?
When I arrived last year the first thing I noticed is that British English is different to American English! At first it was quite hard to understand but I get lots of opportunities to practice with my new friends.
How are you finding studying in the UK?
I was worried about studying in the UK, but now that I’m here and studying Physics with Foundation I have not found it is as different as I thought, and the teachers have been very helpful when I’ve needed it, especially with lab reports!
Tell us about the Durham’s collegiate system?
Durham University is divided into colleges and I really wanted to live in University College, because they have a castle and they are the oldest college so I was really happy when they accepted me. I eat all my meals in the castle, and twice a week we have formal dinners where we get dressed up and the food is better and it’s really social.
A matriculation ceremony being held to welcome all new students
Are you involved in any College or University clubs or societies?
The colleges all compete against each other in different sports, and I play Ultimate Frisbee for my college, and next year I will be treasurer for the society. Our college’s biggest rivals are Hatfield and we played them in an important Frisbee match last year, we didn’t win then but we will next year! Next year I will also be president of the Skills Exchange Society as well, there are lots of opportunities to get involved.
University College Ultimate Frisbee team
What would you say to somebody thinking about applying to Foundation Centre?
The Foundation Centre has been great, the staff and students are very friendly. I have found the language support very helpful, and it is great to be in the class with home students where they can help me with my English and we can study our subjects together.
When I was at Utah, I had a great time but I felt like a guest, whereas here I am part of the university culture and feel much more involved. It’s different.