“When I was looking for a two-year school in Japan, they were all so expensive. So then I found my way to the SMC website, and everything just sort of worked out.”
Maki Kazawa traded one big, crazy, vibrant city—Tokyo—for another—Los Angeles—in order to study Interior Design at SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology. “Oh, they are both very big, wild places!” she says with a laugh. “But they are also completely different. And what I miss the most about home is my family and friends… and the food!” But Maki has found herself a new home at SMC, where the flow of international students is such a huge part of campus life.
“There are so many people here at SMC from all over the world,” she says in excellent English. “And I’ve made so many friends with people from many countries. They have practically
me!” she says with delight. But beyond making a planet-wide network of friends and contacts, Maki has kept her focus on her own plans for the future. “I’m almost finished here and will graduate this spring,” she says. “I was always interested in a job where I could use my sense of color coordination, so I thought about Fashion Design. But I think that working in Interior Design is better for me, because I’d get to work with architects and builders. And I think the money is better, too!”
It’s Maki’s plan to get her certificate from SMC and then “apply for my OPT visa so I can go to work for a while. This winter, I’m taking an auto-CAD program in computers so I can use the technology in my design work,” she says. “And I find that the teachers here are not only good architects and designers, but they also pay very close attention to their students. And they teach you the practical things that they know, like money management and making contracts. So when I graduate from SMC,” she adds, “I think I’ll be very ready for the ‘real world.’ ”