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Billiken Profiles: Karen Hoshino

Sophomore Karen Hoshino is a political science and international studies major and a member of SLU's top-ranked chess team.  

Karen Hoshino

 Karen Hoshino (photographed by Camron Morrissey, SLU class of 2022)

Year: Sophomore
Major: Political Science, International Studies 
Minors: French, Health Care Ethics
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan, and São Paulo, Brazil 
Clubs and Organizations: Chess Team, Student Government Association, and International Ambassador 

About Me

I am an international student born in Japan and raised mostly in Brazil. I am a student-athlete at SLU, representing our team nationally and internationally. I love learning about new cultures, ideas, peoples and languages. I love how I get to do all of these things as a student here at SLU!

SLU Chess Team   

I came to SLU mainly because of the internationally well-known chess team. I have been playing chess since a young age and it was always my dream to study in the united States while belonging to a chess team. Together with that, I remember how welcomed I felt the first time I visited the SLU campus. I found it absolutely beautiful and could see myself studying here for the next 4 years of my life. The SLU hospitality was truly wonderful to an international student like myself, and I felt that this would be a good fit for me — and it was!

Highlights from My SLU Experience 

Belonging to the chess team at SLU is truly a blessing to me. Despite our differences in nationality, character, strength and ideas, our global chess team brings a unique perspective to the SLU experience. I love how each player brings something special to the table. Also because I know that the friendships I have made in the chess team are life-long friendships I will treasure forever. 

Another thing I love about my SLU experience is helping students, especially international students, adapt to campus life, transition well, and build good relationships with their peers and professors. I love being part of the Student Government Association and being able to listen to students talk about their experiences and what can be done to make SLU an even better place.

Life in St. Louis   

Exploring St. Louis can be really fun, especially with a group of friends. There are so many free things to do such as visiting the zoo, botanical garden, Basilica, Chess Hall of Fame — and the list continues! As a chess player, I am in the best city that I could be, where I am 20 minutes away from the best chess club in the world! St. Louis is a place where people from all over the world, different backgrounds and tastes can enjoy the city. I love that there is always something I can do in St. Louis — you just have to look around.

How I Stay Connected to Other Billikens   

I enjoy going to the gym to either workout, play badminton or racquet ball with my friends. Me and my friends also like to play chess, go for walks in the beautiful campus or even just study all together in the library. Even in COVID times, there are plenty of safe activities available for students to stay connected with other Billikens.

Favorite Thing About Campus

I love that the SLU campus has many places for students to hang out and study. For my studying habits, I like to often change the places, and I never had that problem at SLU. The library itself has many types of study places- from quiet places to places that allow noise. Apart from the library I love to explore new buildings, even if I don’t have classes in them! Like the various study places, SLU has many places that friends can hang out. I personally love going for a walk to the soccer field side of campus because there is a pond with a beautiful view to go at night. I absolutely think the SLU campus is stunning, and we always have new and exciting things going on here!

Advice for Your College Search During COVID-19

My advice is to search for a place where you can see yourself studying for the next four years of your life. It is important to choose somewhere that has great resources on campus but also online. To me, this was an important thing — that SLU has many resources and is always innovating to make a student’s experiences better. I felt that I was engaged as a student even away from campus, when I was taking my classes online from Brazil due to the pandemic.

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