Student Ambassador Spotlight

  • Smiling woman with long brown hair and small earrings Meet Student Ambassador Akiko Iwai


    Tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I’m Akiko Iwai, and I’ve been in the United States for a year and a half now.  I attend
    evening class at the San Mateo Adult School and I’m also a member of the Garden Club.

    How long have you been a student at San Mateo Adult School?

    I’ve been taking evening ESL classes for a little over a year, since spring semester in 2018. 

    What made you decide to participate in the Student Ambassador Program?

    I decided to be a Student Ambassador because of two reasons; the first reason was that I was
    looking for something different than just learning English in a classroom setting.  At the time, I
    was thinking about doing some volunteer work in this area, but I didn't have enough confidence
    to jump into a completely new unknown environment.  Then I heard about this program, and I
    thought this program would be the best opportunity for me to improve not only myself but my
    English skills.

    The other reason was that I remembered how nervous and afraid I felt when I first came to
    register for English classes. I didn't know where I should go and what would happen next, and
    the orientation went a little too fast for me to understand, but I couldn't ask even a small question
    because I didn't know who I should ask.  So, I thought it would make me so relieved if there
    were someone who could speak my language, and I would be glad if I could help new students in
    that way.

    What was the highlight?

    Helping new students and communicating with them to easy their uneasy feelings as best I
    could.  Sometimes it wasn’t easy to communicate with students who spoke a different language
    and no very little English, but I learned a lot of new things and new ways of communicating
    through trial and error. 

    Above all, I was so happy I could give back not only to our school but to the Staff who are
    always really caring about students; it was and is my pleasure.

    What advice would you have for someone who is interested in becoming a Student

    If you’re interested in this program even just a little bit, I recommend you to take action before
    thinking you can do it or not.  Most of you may worry about your level of English skills, and
    may think they are not good enough to be a part of this program, and I can understand it because
    I felt the same way when I started.  However, now, I can tell you that you will be OK.  You’ll
    work with another Student Ambassador who is an ESL students just like you, and you all can
    work together to help not only new students but each other.  Trying to help each other is more
    important than how much English you can speak to be able to be a Student Ambassador. You can
    go to ask Tia or Hilda right now if you have any questions about this program.  Don’t hesitate to                                                    become a part of this program.  It is just a little step, but I hope you'll enjoy the opportunity                                                            which will make a big difference in your future.