Voices of Diversity: Japanese exchange students explore English at University of Iowa

Japanese students from Yamanashi University practice English in class. (Steffi Lee, CBS2/FOX28)

When you ask the students from Yamanashi University what their goals are, you'll be inspired.

"I want to be a CEO in the future and I think there are many genius people in America," student Daichi Namiuchi said. "I want to connect with these people."

"I want to work in an automobile company," student Issei Mochizuki said.

Mochizuki and Maniuchi are two of the 10 students among the Yamanashi University group who are spending several weeks with the University of Iowa for a study abroad program.

They're learning English to hopefully become more marketable in the workforce.

"I think what the world needs now is a person who can speak English," Yukari Kosaka, who is a student studying nursing, said. "English is a very common language in the world and I want to study English. I want to be a good English speaker."

For the weeks they're in Iowa, they'll be taking English classes using pronunciation materials and exercise worksheets, going over everyday conversation phrases and terms.

"We're working on building fluency and speaking in longer responses," ESL lecturer Ryan Kaduce said.

"I want to learn some cultures of America - reading, speaking and writing," student Zonghao Li said.

Though student life at the university can be just as much of an adjustment as perfecting English, the students say it's worth picking up a language that's in such high demand.

"In Iowa, we start class at 8:30," Li laughs. "It's early. I can't get up."

But there's a lot of pride from being able to make it to class.

"I'm proud of how I have this great opportunity to come here and learn something about English and learning common skills," Kosaka said.

The students will be doing home stays and job shadows in Des Moines with Iowa Sister States.

They'll also visit eastern Iowa towns like the Amana Colonies and explore local shopping centers.

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