Jul 21, 2016
Ayano Yokoo started learning many of Japan’s customs at an early age. Her home country is rich in culture, and Ayano loved to learn it all, from the traditional tea ceremony, to Japanese flower arranging (known as Ikebana), to playing the Koto (the Japanese floor harp). It was a love for her culture that created the desire to experience cultures from other countries, and that growing curiosity eventually prompted her make the difficult decision
to study abroad.
There were several factors that led Ayano to pick Vancouver - and in particular, Langara College - from the rest. First was Vancouver’s reputation as a multicultural, world-class city. Her appetite for culture made her wonder about living in a place where the people speak different languages, eat different food, learn different things, and what she heard about Vancouver checked all the boxes.
But when it came to post-secondary institutions, information about Canadian schools was limited in Japan. From her research, she discovered compelling testimonials from students in Langara’s LEAP (Langara English for Academic Purposes) program. It was exactly what she was looking for – an intensive program that prepares students for college and university by combining speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. But Ayano soon realized that there was so much more to the program than what she had read about.
Shortly after arriving in Vancouver to study in LEAP, like many international students, Ayano started experiencing spells of homesickness. She fondly recalls a day when her instructor took her aside when she was so overcome with sadness that she started crying in class. “She offered such kind words of support: ‘It’s okay Ayano, everybody feels homesick. It’s hard to be away from home. I am very proud of you.’” Hearing these words of encouragement made Ayano feel more comfortable and at-home, and is one more reason why she believes so strongly in the program.
“I improved my English skills, and gained a better understanding of different cultures,” Ayano said, “but aside from that, my instructors were very supportive. I also met the best friends in the program and we still keep in touch. LEAP was such a rewarding experience.”
Ayano is an International Education ambassador at Langara and is in her 2nd year in Psychology at the college.