Student Ambassador Spotlight
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
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
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.