From Japan to Studying Hospitality at UNLV
Yuka Nishikido from Japan is currently majoring in hospitality management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (ranked #2 globally – QS World University). She joined the GO: 50 program in Fall 2017 and successfully completed the program. We spoke with Yuka about her experience as a college student in the U.S.
Which Kings school/college did you study at? How did Kings help you with the transfer process?
I studied at Kings Los Angeles, Marymount California University. My Kings advisor really helped me with a lot of things. I wasn’t sure what classes would transfer to University of Nevada, Las Vegas(UNLV) and she organized my course schedule. I studied in Canada before MCU and I never got to meet my advisor, but with Kings, I went to meetings regularly and received a lot of help.
What was your major? What are your plans after graduation?
My major is hospitality management. I’m not 100% sure as of now but I would like to participate in OPT (Optional Practical Training) and gain work experience in the hotel industry after graduation. I’m more interested in working in front of house because I like interacting with guests.
What did you most like about your university? Why did you choose this school?
UNLV is known for being the best school in hospitality field. It has been my dream school. First, I went to Canada to study Business but I always wanted to go to the US and study Hospitality Management. What I like the most about UNLV is the fancy facilities, for example we have an actual commercial kitchen, teachers are very professional, well-respected in the field, and have good connections. They always tell us that they would love to connect us to professionals in different hotels.
Last year I had a mock interview with operations manager of the Aria hotel. In the Summer session, I took front office organization course and there was an assignment that required me to interview professionals in the field, and I connected with the interviewer and was invited to Aria. That was a great opportunity for me to see hotels firsthand and talk to experts in the field.
Did you do an internship?
UNLV requires all hospitality students gain work experience in the hospitality industry. I worked in hotel for two months during Summer and worked in travel agency in Japan. I prefer working in the hotels. I was really valued because of my language and communications skills.
How is your life different now compared to when you were at Kings?
I actually prefer MCU, which is a small campus, in that professors and students were very close. I still connect with some of my professors. At UNLV, it’s a big campus and there are close to 100 students in some classes. Kings advisors are very nice and I visited them regularly but here at UNLV, advising has more business feel. My advisor doesn’t even remember my name!
What was your favorite class, why did you like it? Is there any class that was challenging and why?
Front office organization course was my favorite class because I had opportunities to meet professionals working in the field. My least favorite class is human resources class because I studied really hard and didn’t get a good grade.
We also have cooking class. When I took that class, there was a volunteer event called UNLVino (Annual wine and food festival/fundraiser for UNLV’s School of Hospitality Management) at the Mirage hotel. I really enjoyed being part of that event.
What advice would you give for future students who want to study in the US?
I’m 23 years old, and most of my friends back in Japan have already graduated college when I’m still a junior. It took a long time for me to master English. Having good language and communications skills is very important. I was interested in Hospitality Management for a long time but I didn’t have enough confidence to come to the US.
In Japan, people working at hotels don’t make a lot of money. But it’s still important to follow the passion. It’s really hard to study what you don’t want to study. When I was studying Business in Canada, I had to take math and economics and my grades were bad because I wasn’t interested. It’s really important to find what you really like to do. At UNLV, classes can get difficult but they are so closely-related to what I want to do in the future, it’s always fun to study!