Skip to body

Office of International Studies and Programs

Give to OISP


Contact Us

Phone: +1-509-963-3612
More Contact Info

Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Wakana Inoue

WAKANA INOUE   井上稚  (Cycle 2, 2009-2010; Beck Hall resident; International Relations major)


“Thinking [about AUAP] now, every single day was my favorite memory,” says Wakana Inoue.  “At the beginning, I was astonished at how big everything was, wondered why they served chips as part of our first lunch (isn’t that just a snack?), and I was shocked and confused when a boy from our hall opened his arms to give me a big hug (which I learned is common there).  Like this, every small thing was so new and fresh and I was quite excited to immerse myself into a whole new world,” she reminisced. 


 “Thankfully, there were really cool people around me who made my AUAP life so much fun,” Wakana continues.  “Going hiking, ‘Thriller’ dance practice, ordering too many pizzas, eating Japanese food at Kiku-Chan, meeting EWU and WWU friends in Seattle, hanging out with my cool Campus Friend, dyeing our hair, traveling to other states and Canada, having a deep conversation with my roommate, feeling myself falling apart and reborn through culture shock…,” she says.  “Sharing all of my amazing memories is too difficult, and my emotions and tears come out with the sentences….” 

Wakana just recently got a job working at Rakuten, but previously worked for AEON in Tokyo as a school manager, and for ISECE, the International Society of Educational and Cultural Exchange Foundation.  She feels that she her 5 months at AUAP built the “Foundation” for her life.

“Whenever I talk to my customers/students, I say to them: ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do,’ and ‘Let yourself be immersed in their culture, and experience having your common sense and stereotypes destroyed,’ as well as, ‘Continue making effort,” she says.  “These ideas are from my experiences living overseas. Since I have had several study abroad experiences, I am now a hybrid of all of these experiences. However, I would say my first study abroad experience—AUAP—was the most hard-hitting for me to make me say the above words to my students today.  And obviously, thanks to AUAP, I am a fluent English speaker now, and have been working where English is required.’

When her AUAP experience finished in 2010, Wakana promised herself she would return to visit her new friends somehow, and took the trip back to CWU in 2011.  That same year, she studied in Spain for one month through AUGP (Asia University Global Program), and then at Western Washington University for one year in 2013 through AUEP (Asia University Exchange Program).  Wakana now has spent time in eight countries (the U.S., Canada, Australia, Spain, Malaysia, China, Mexico, Cambodia), and says everything was due to her having an incredibly fulfilling time during AUAP.

“AUAP life was so fulfilling and the best thing was the people—the AUAP staff, IPAs, residence hall members…they were all amazing and I was so blessed by being surrounded by such people. AUAP taught me many important things—the joy of communicating in English, learning completely different new ideas, etc.  And the result is, I became addicted to study abroad!”

When asked if she had any advice for current AUAP students, Wakana said, “RESPECT OTHERS. Because you’re in the U.S. and not your own country, respect that country and Americans while you live your life there.  During these 5 months—which may be your most important yet most sensitive and emotional period of your life—please thank your parents, grandparents or relatives for allowing you to study abroad in this favorable atmosphere.”

Go Back

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.