From Cohasset to UMass
Yukika Nozawa, a double major in marketing and informatics, has a very unique backstory. Yukika was born in China but moved around after: she lived in San Diego for a while, then Japan, and finally completed her high school education in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Moving away from the diverse city of San Diego to Japan, a relatively homogenous country, and then to a small white suburb like Cohasset was confusing for Yukika. Her high school experience felt isolating as “it was hard to find people like me and connect with my culture,” she explained.
When Yukika came to UMass she was surprised to see just how diverse our campus is. “There are people from so many different backgrounds,” she said.
Yukika had a complicated experience transitioning to UMass as an international student, and hopes others that studied in the U.S. relate. Yukika explained, “I understood the struggles of international students applying to universities, especially since my parents didn't go to university in the U.S., and so I couldn’t receive much guidance. However, I also felt that my experience was a bit different from most international students: I wasn't on a student visa, so it was a bit more difficult trying to figure out what that meant for me.”
When it came to the college hunt, proximity to family was a priority. She wanted to be close enough to visit home but far enough to feel independent. “Being very straightforward, a big reason was the money,” Yukika said. She was eligible for in-state tuition after going to high school in Massachusetts, so UMass made the most sense financially. After applying, Yukika and her mom were happy to see her get accepted into the Honors College. The many options for majors, minors, and clubs also reassured her that she was in the right place. Yukika said she was “super undecided” and that, “at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do so I wanted to be at a university where there are a lot of options.”
Since being at UMass, Yukika has discovered a lot about herself. The first is that she became more proactive. With remote learning, Yukika found it difficult to form strong connections with people and become involved in the campus community. She realized that “you can’t just wait for opportunities to come to you… if you want something you have to try for it”.
She decided to apply to be an e-board member of the Taiwanese and Chinese Students’ Association. Yukika said, “The members on e-board are all amazing people and I always have a fun time working with them. I just feel like I fit well in the community.”
Academically, Yukika discovered that she enjoyed taking informatics courses. She told me about her experience designing a webpage using HTML/CSS and how gratifying it was. Yukika recommends that new students “try different things, but if you hate something, you can drop it. There's nothing wrong with trying something and learning that it may not be right for you.”