From EAP to Disney: LUW Alum Nodoka Mori’s Lakeland Journey
In 2018, when Nodoka Mori started taking classes in LUJ’s EAP (English for Academic Purposes) program, she had an immediate impact on the students and teachers around her.
One of her EAP professors, Shey Weaver, remembered Nodoka the moment her name was mentioned. “Nodoka was an absolute delight to have in class,” Mr. Weaver recalls. “She was hardworking, inquisitive, and always happy to help a classmate. Nodoka's positive attitude was absolutely infectious to those around her.”
Professor Dave Learoyd, LUJ’s EAP Chair, had similar memories, stating how “positive and bright” Nodoka was in his class. “She was quick with a question, and never afraid to tell you that she didn't understand something which made my teaching and her learning so much easier.”
It has been quite an educational journey for Nodoka. In just four years, she has successfully completed the EAP program, which prepared her for her time as an Undergraduate at LUJ, where she took a wide variety of accredited classes, such as Composition, Public Speaking, Critical Thinking, and Humanities, to name a few.
Excelling in all of these classes, Nodoka took one more step in her journey, flying to Wisconsin to study at Lakeland University Wisconsin (LUW), graduating in 2022.
Although it’s difficult to summarize such a journey so quickly, Nodoka, fortunately for us, tried. Read below for insights into how she managed to go from EAP to answering calls for Walt Disney World.
So…Nodoka. How did your time at LUJ, as a student in the EAP and Undergraduate, help prepare you for your experience at Lakeland University Wisconsin?
Learning English in the EAP was so helpful for my LUW life. EAP teachers know EAP students are looking to acquire English skill, and they made it real easy to ask questions in English, such as grammar and vocabulary. English skills are essential to join academic classes
(not only at LUW but also LUJ) and communicate with everyone at LUW.
In addition, I would say that LUJ life has strengthened me mentally and even physically. It was often tough handling assignments, and I sometimes had to complete many assignments all at once. It made me exhausted.
Honestly, it was the same at LUW, and I had a lot of assignments through the semester. However, thanks to the preparation I received at LUJ, I could complete the tasks at LUW.
What would you say was your most rewarding time at Lakeland University Wisconsin?
I would say that it was when I could interact with local Wisconsin residents in English because this was the first time to go to a country whose first language is English.
Certainly, I had used English at LUJ, but this was different. At LUW, everyone spoke English so fast, and with slang; it was as if they did not know or consider people who did not speak English as their first language.
Therefore, when I could communicate with local people in English, I was so glad, because this type of experience was not something I could really practice in Japan.
I wanted to experience it more. So, to do this, I tried various things. For example, I worked on campus as a server in the dining hall, and I also worked in an office environment. As well, I chose to share a room with a local student. These experiences were so valuable when learning English often, and it made my time at LUW so rewarding.
Can you provide any advice to give to LUJ students who are looking to eventually transfer to LUW?
One piece of advice is to work as hard as possible because all of your efforts at LUJ (especially if you are Japanese, like me) will make it much easier to ‘survive’ at LUW. You must use English all the time at LUW, and you will have to complete lots of classes at LUW, so you need to be patient, both physically and mentally.
This advice might sound simple, but it’s important.
Now that you've graduated from LUW, what's next?
After I graduated from LUW last summer, I started the Disney College Program for my OPT (Optional Practical Training) period. This was a kind of internship provided by Walt Disney World in Florida. I was a concierge at the Deluxe Resort, and I did check-in/out for guests and answered questions from guests.
As I completed the one-year program this May, I will begin a new adventure this fall. Thanks to the connection during the program, I will be able to be back to being a cast member again. I will work on the Disney Cruise Line as guest services who can take care of guests on the cruise.