Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Meet Amanda Tsuhako ’15

Medical Student

The Japanese studies and biology graduate talks about professors, video projects, living in Japan, and where to go in San Francisco.

What attracted you to USF?
Being in the center of San Francisco, the USF campus is close to Golden Gate Park and downtown San Francisco. It's a hub for diverse people from all around the world to come together and share their experiences.

Why did you choose Japanese studies as a major? What did you like most about it?
I had wonderful professors who convinced me to double major in Japanese studies along with biology. The professors encouraged me to pursue Japanese studies to expand my language skills and my knowledge of worldly cultures. The sensei are so friendly and always had their office doors open and were happy to have a conversation in Japanese over tea and snacks. I was also very attracted to the wide array of course options from ancient Japanese history to modern, contemporary culture like anime and idols. My favorite memory was working on a group video project for Japanese 202. My classmates and I wrote a murder mystery all in Japanese. At the end of the semester, we all watched each other's skits and it was so fun.

What are you doing now?
I'm currently a third-year medical student at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, class of 2025.

How did your USF education prepare you to do your work?
After graduating from USF, I participated in the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program where I taught English in Japan. The Japanese studies program helped prepare me by learning the Japanese language and culture, and the professors helped with letters of recommendation for my application. While living in Japan, I traveled to all the different prefectures and experienced the unique foods and attractions that I learned about in the Advanced Japanese class. My Japanese language training has been invaluable in medical school in Hawaii. I’ve been able to help serve the elderly Japanese population and put them at ease when they’re staying in the hospital.

What advice do you have for current USF students?
I would recommend that students take advantage of every opportunity given to them while at USF. Go sit in the student section at a USF basketball game, use your free MUNI pass to ride the bus to Lands End, take your lunch for a picnic in Golden Gate Park. There is always something going on at campus or in the city. Your time in USF will fly by, but you can fill that time with enriching experiences and make lifelong friendships.