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One man’s pursuit for education leading him to Kearney

International Recruitment Specialist Ryo Suzuki aims to give international students a welcoming...
International Recruitment Specialist Ryo Suzuki aims to give international students a welcoming feeling at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.(Free Use)
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Every year, hundreds of students from up to 50 countries around the world come to the University of Nebraska at Kearney to pursue their education. One of those students, now turned faculty member, is Ryo Suzuki.

Suzuki started as a Business and Marketing major at the university and now helps other international students just like him, start their journey at UNK. As the International Recruitment Specialist at the university, his main goal is to help students feel welcome.

“Creating a welcoming environment is great for international students because the more international students we have here, the richer this community will be, and the campus will be, and that is my goal.” said Suzuki.

Emigrating from Japan himself, Suzuki understands the motivation for so many international students to come to this country.

“There’s so many reasons international students come here, mostly the education here is great, but I think the mindset is excitement, and concerns too because you are leaving your life to another country, and it depends where you’re from, for me it was Tokyo to Kearney, that’s a big change.”

Despite the cultural differences between Japan and Nebraska, Suzuki decided to stay for the community, which he says values kindness.

“Just being nice and being mindful to others means something, and it counts for something and you know, Nebraskans, we are humble people, we don’t brag about that stuff, but you know, my job, I get to brag about how Kearney is great, and how great the community is.”

As far as community involvement goes, Ryo Suzuki is also a Marketing lecturer at UNK. He also works with the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kearney Family YMCA.

Nebraska also has a strong relationship with Japan, its largest foreign direct investor, investing over $4 billion into the state since 2010. The relationship is something Suzuki experienced himself.

“I had a friend, studied at UNK and he graduated from here and he went back home, back in Tokyo, I got a call from him one day, saying ‘so I went to the grocery store in Tokyo and I was looking at the beef, and it said Nebraska, I know this place!’ and that’s the connection you get to make for the rest of your life!”

In the meantime, Suzuki is busy preparing for 25 more international students that are set to attend UNK in the next couple of weeks.

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