The ELI Student Spotlight series is designed to highlight students who demonstrates outstanding commitment and enthusiasm in ELI courses.

Meet Shun Akiyama! Shun was nominated for the fall 2021 ELI Student Spotlight by Carmela Romano Gillette for his work in her fall 2021 ELI 131 class, Interactive Communication. Of Shun's work in ELI 131, his instructor, said "Shun's work stood out among a group of excellent students this semester. Though he was the only freshman in the class, he often took a leadership role in group activities; in fact his group’s final project video is one of the best I’ve ever received for this assignment. He is also a lovely person"! Congratulations, Shun!

Name: Shun Akiyama

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Degree Program: Undeclared

What inspired you to take a class at the English Language Institute? I didn't have much experience of communicating with people in English. Furthermore, it was the first time for me to study in English, so I was not as confident as I would like. Actually, right after I arrived in the US, I couldn't always understand what people said, which shocked me and made me think I really had to improve my English skills. I wanted to make some friends as well, so I thought a class at ELI would be a good opportunity to meet new people.

What have you enjoyed the most about your class? Why? I enjoyed the final project in ELI 131 the most. In the final project, we had to make a video about any topic we wanted. We decided to make a video in which we introduced recommendable places at the University of Michigan. Then, we shot a video and edited it. The whole process, discussing what we would include - in English, shooting, and editing video, was new to me and really fascinating, so I enjoyed it the most.

What do you hope to do after graduating from Michigan? I'm a freshman now and I have three and a half more years left. I don't have specific plans yet, but I think I will go back to Japan and work there.

What advice would you give to other international students at U-M? If you don't have much confidence in English, I recommend you take classes offered by ELI. It is a good opportunity to learn English practically. Moreover, you can make friends with other international students, which definitely helps you become more confident in English.