Doing Well in Nursing School

Former NK refugee loves nursing school

Nursing School, First Year Done

Update from former NK refugee

Miss K. H., one of the North Korean defectors we helped rescue four years ago, just sent us an update on her progress in nursing school. As you may recall from ourearlier article last year, she is a former North Korean defector who has resettled in Japan.

As soon as she arrived here, she immediately began attending night classes to learn the Japanese language. Then, last year, she passed the entrance exam for a nationally-known school of nursing in Tokyo.

In Miss K. H.’s update, she tells how this past year has made her keenly aware of the challenge that foreigners face. Although she fully expected to face difficulties, the actual school experience has been tougher than she imagined. The medical language, and anatomical terms in particular, use many complicated Kanji characters that are never encountered in general Japanese books. The following are her observations.

I don’t know how many times I have cried because of language challenges

In my first year, the most difficult area has been “anatomical physiology,” which is one of the basic subjects. In it we study the names and functions of each part of the human body. The challenge is that so many of the names are written in extremely complicated Kanji characters.

When I was studying to pass the highest level of the Japanese language proficiency exam, I learned many Japanese words, all written in Kanji characters. But in my first year of nursing school there was a constant stream of new medical terms that I had no idea how to read or how to guess the meanings.

Most of my classmates could easily learn a new group of anatomical terms in an hour or so, but those same terms could take me days, and I still might not completely master them. I don’t know how many times I cried with frustration. Fortunately, I’m not one to give up. I would just kept on studying. And along the way I finally picked up a few good tips for learning those difficult medical terms after my year of struggle. I have even received high marks of 100 points, which encourages me.

My goal is to pass the national exam

The first year is just the beginning, and from this second year, more technical classes will begin. I can no longer use the excuse of being a foreigner or turn back. Enrolling in nursing school is my own decision, and I will not disappoint those people who have trust in me and who support me. I know that I must not give up but instead will keep on moving forward.

My current goals are to acquire Japanese citizenship, for which I have already submitted the application, and to pass the national nursing exam three years from now.