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ECU student finds boon in Japanese language

GREENVILLE, NC   (Feb. 26, 1996)   —   The key to getting a good job often means being in the right place at the right time.
For Miwa Susan Anderson, a Japanese-American student at East Carolina University, the last three-years in Greenville have been perfect placement and timing for her long-range career goals.
A senior geography major who lived in Japan for 11 years, Anderson found that her fluency in Japanese was a valued commodity in this eastern North Carolina university town. Soon after she enrolled, a large Japanese automotive electric motor manufacturer, ASMO, announced plans to build a plant at the local industrial park. Before long, Anderson had landed a part-time job interpreting for U.S. and Japanese employees at the site.
Her association with company officials helped introduce her to area developers and to the people directing the plans for the Global TransPark project. Again, it was the right time and the right place that landed the ECU honors students an internship position with the Global TransPark development efforts in Thailand.
She starts a one-year internship in June at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Southeast Regional Office in Bangkok. Her work will include helping in the development of promotional materials to attract Japanese companies to the budding Asian Global TransPark in Thailand. The internship will also involve gathering information for the Japanese press for the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo about the Global TransPark project.
The work is a perfect fit for this young woman whose name and personality is a mix of both cultures.
“Mi means America and Wa means Japan,” Anderson said. He friends call her Mi (Me).
She was born in Japan. Her mother is Japanese and her father, a college professor, is American. At the age of three-months she moved with her parents to Portland, Oregon. Three years later she and her family moved to Chicago where they lived for seven years before moving to Tokyo. She returned to the U.S. four-years ago and live with relatives in Raleigh where she completed her senior year in high school.
“I am an American citizen, but I had lived so long in Japan I had to retread myself,” she said smiling.
Following her graduation from Raleigh’s Broughton High School she was accepted into the Honors Program at ECU. She will complete her bachelor’s degree in May after three years and a near-perfect academic record.
As if keeping up with her studies is not enough, she is a member of four honor societies and an officer with the International Student Association. She also worked as a resident advisor at a campus dorm from 1994-95 and prior to her position with ASMO she worked as an intern with the Pitt County Development Commission.
“My career goals are broad and overwhelming at this point,” said Anderson. She said she hopes her internship in Thailand will open up opportunities for her to work at an international level involving the U.S., Japan and Southeast Asia. She said she is particularly interested in industrial recruiting and in airport development and management.
It was her interest in airports and a course in economic geography that led to her to a meeting with an official for the Global TransPark Authority in North Carolina. Collecting information about the TransPark’s development, she learned of the connection between the Kinston, N.C. project and another TransPark being planned in Thailand.
She later met with planners and administrators at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise in Chapel Hill who awarded her the internship to work