Sacred Heart University (SHU) is a private, liberal arts university located in Fairfield, Connecticut, in the United States. The university consists of 8,500 students and offers Bachelor's, Master’s and Post-doctoral degrees. SHU was recognised as one of the best regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report in their “America’s Best Colleges” publication in 2016. The Princeton Review has also placed the university in its “Best 381 Colleges” and “Best 294 Business Schools” lists for the year 2017.

SchoolApply had the opportunity to interview two current international students at Sacred Heart University, Kotomi Mizutani and Shin Yoshida.

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Coming From Japan

Kotomi Mizutani is 25 years old and a senior at Sacred Heart University. She is from Tokyo, Japan and has previously lived in the United States, Canada, and Australia. She graduated from Keio University in Tokyo with a degree in Economics before moving to Fairfield, Connecticut to pursue her true passion, Art & Design. “I am now studying at SHU to achieve a BA in Art & Design with a double concentration in Graphic Design and Illustration, to pursue my dream to become a designer and work internationally. I was looking for a university with a good program that was close to New York City, because I believe that NYC is one of the best cities in the world to experience the things that inspire and move me,” Kotomi says.   

Shin Yoshida, 23 years old, is also from Tokyo, Japan and is a junior at Sacred Heart University studying for his BA in Marketing. Prior to coming to SHU, he studied at Musashi University in Tokyo for three years. When asked what made him want to study at SHU, he replied, “I want to become a Manager of a restaurant in Japan – this has been my dream since I was young. SHU is ideally located for me, between Boston and New York City, so when I have free time I go to these cities and explore some of the best shops and restaurants in the world which help me develop a sense of good management and business.”

Language Barriers

As many international students know, moving away from your friends, family, and home can be a challenging process. Kotomi and Shin both faced communication hurdles that with time and support from the SHU community, they were able to overcome.

“One of the hardest things for me when I moved to the US was the language barrier. I could not always understand what was going on in classes, participate in class discussions or even talk to my classmates. I always went to the professors after class to ask what homework needed to be done, which helped me a lot. They were very kind to me and ensured that I understood the coursework and helped me to succeed,” Kotomi comments.

Shin adds, “This is my first time living in another country, so it is sometimes hard for me to communicate in English. I joined a college band here at SHU and to me, music means much more than just the words of the song. Being a part of the band has helped me make friends and it has also given me the opportunity to practice my English skills.”

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Life At SHU

Sacred Heart University offers many opportunities for students to meet new people, find support and guidance, and experience the United States. “The university has a lot of school activities which can be joined easily. I remember seeing a Boston Red Sox game in Boston as part of a school activity - that was a lot of fun for me! I also enjoy watching ice hockey or basketball games at Sacred Heart University. In addition to this, the International Admissions office is always available to overseas students, and the staff is very helpful, and provides excellent service and support,” Kotomi says.

Besides these activities, there are many groups and organisations that students can join on campus. Shin plays the drums in a college band that performs at various school functions like basketball, ice hockey and football games. “There are about 150 people in the band, so it has been easy to make friends through this fun activity!” he says.

The First Few Days

There is nothing quite like a first impression, and Kotomi and Shin both have memorable ones of Sacred Heart University. “When I first arrived, I really liked the beautiful campus. I was so nervous my first few days at school because I did not know anyone, but my Resident Advisors (RAs) were very kind and helped me adjust and answered all my questions. They even took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, which was very sweet and is a precious memory for me,” Kotomi says.

Shin explains that he actually arrived on campus before the regular school session began. “I came early to SHU because I had joined a band camp, so the campus was pretty empty. The first thing that struck me was the beauty of the campus and the dormitories,” he says.

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School Strengths

Kotomi is quick to praise the professors at Sacred Heart University. “They not only teach me how to design or draw, but also how to be successful as a professional after college. The professors always make time for me, and answer my questions. Since the classes are not too big, it is easy to communicate with classmates and professors. That helps my understanding of the subjects and my language skills as well,” she comments. She continues, saying, “The professors in the Art & Design department are wonderful, they even help students prepare for work interviews – they put the students first.”

Both Kotomi and Shin are enthusiastic about the convenient location of the university, “It is perfect for me - I can focus on studying but if I want to get out of town, I can go to NYC or Boston which is not that hard with public transportation,” says Kotomi.

Shin says, “I think SHU’s strengths are its good location, campus size and number of students. Being close to Boston and NYC is so convenient, and the student population and campus size are not too large, which I think is important to international students so they do not feel too overwhelmed.”

Favourite Events

Football games rank high on the list of fun events at Sacred Heart University. Kotomi says, “I like watching the Super Bowl at the school bar, Red’s. Since it is a big game, everyone is so excited and it is fun to watch the game with a big group. Also, I love Red’s – I go there once a week to relax and have fun.”

There is no question that Shin's favourite school event is the Homecoming football game. “Homecoming is amazing! So many people come to see the game and I was super excited because I got to play the drums at this huge event with the school band!” he exclaims.

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To discover more about Sacred Heart University visit its Bachelor's and Master's profiles on SchoolApply and begin your application process now!