Misako Fukushima is another ELI alum who kindly visited us when she was last in town. She sat with us and told us about her time here at NDMU, and where life has taken her since then.
Misako came to the United States with her husband who had been hired at Johns Hopkins Medical Hospital. She decided to study English while her husband was working in the hospital, so she visited the English Language Institute at Notre Dame. She started her English studies in June 2001(summer session) as a full-time student through the fall session. It was during this time that she met Sr. Kathleen Feeley through the conversation partner program, and it was Sr. Kathleen who encouraged Misako to take classes at the undergraduate level at NDMU.
Since she had already studied Sociology back home, she decided to take a Sociology 101 course at NDMU. Inspired to continue her studies, Misako decided to apply to graduate school at American University in D.C, where her professor, Dr. Kirby, had finished her graduate degree. With letters of recommendation from Dr. Kirby and Sr. Kathleen, Misako was beginning the next step of her academic journey. After graduating from American University, she returned home to Japan and became a researcher at Tokyo Gas. She continued her studies meanwhile, and earned her Doctorate degree in Political Science from Hosei University in Japan.
Currently, Misako is the Vice President of Child Fund Japan, a non-profit organization which supports children’s education in developing countries. She said, “Thanks to the ELI, I am able to communicate with representatives of Child Fund from all over the world.” In addition, she is now teaching Social Research at Tokyo Kasei Gakuin University as a part-time lecturer. As she struggled herself to pass the comprehensive test in social research for her doctorate degree, she said, “It’s funny that I am teaching Social Research for the undergraduate students, when I struggled so much myself. How ironic!”
For her, it feels amazing to come back to the ELI. She said, “I wasn’t able to speak English before studying at the ELI and my friends in Japan felt sorry for me, saying ‘Poor Misako.’ However, after learning English in the ELI, I was able to study at the graduate level at a prestigious school.’”
Misako believes it is really important to learn English to communicate with the world. “I think the ELI represents diversity, tolerance, and heart-warming to me,” she said. Now, her future goal is to become a professor. The ELI congratulates Misako on all of her success, and sends warm wishes for all of her future endeavors.