The U.S. Embassy has launched a video project called “A Broader View: Studying in the U.S. Will Change Your Life,” which features interviews with Japanese about their experiences studying and living in America. We titled the project “A Broader View” because many people who studied in America say they gained a broader view of the world thanks to living in the United States.

Below are highlights of the interview with artist Frankie Cihi. Frankie studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from the age of 18. She is known not only for her artwork but also for her appearance on a Japanese reality TV show called Terrace House. In the interview, Frankie talks about how studying in the U.S. set her on a journey of self-discovery.


Frankie Cihi during the interview for A Broader View

A Journey of Self-Discovery

I was born and raised in Tokyo, but I went to international schools where only English was used. Also, I am only half Japanese. In other words, I didn’t feel like I was really Japanese. When I went to study in New York, though, it became clear to me that I was Japanese. This catapulted me into an identity crisis, which motivated me to set off on a journey of self-discovery.

How Studying in the U.S. Has Enhanced My Career

I am fortunate to have met many people while studying at art school in New York City. I see these people as an asset. My work has broadened because the people I met in New York City have connected me with other people. This is what I am most thankful for. For people working in creative fields, having a network is really critical. If you don’t go overseas, you won’t be able to develop that network.


Frankie Cihi in New York

Advice to Those Thinking of Studying in the U.S.

Many Japanese give up on studying in the U.S. because they are not confident in their English ability. Those who go to the U.S. despite feeling that way, though, find that their English has vastly improved just one year later. Don’t give up on studying abroad just because your TOEIC or TOEFL score is low. Once you are in America, it’s important to develop a circle of foreign friends and hang around with other Japanese students as little as possible.

To see the full interview with Frankie and interviews with other people who have studied in the United States, take a look at the A Broader View website. Watch the interviews and be inspired by people who have studied abroad. Then take the plunge yourself and go study in the U.S. The experience will change your life.