“SMC is the Number One transfer school and it’s cheap. So I’ll do two years here, and then transfer on to USC or UCLA. That’s the plan.”
He was in his first semester at SMC, having a blast, and getting good grades. But the story of Kiyo Nakamura doesn’t begin in Santa Monica. “I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. My mom is Mexican and my dad is Japanese,” he explains. “I was in Mexico until I was six, and then we moved to Japan, where I went to an international school and learned English. But I always spoke Spanish with my mom, and I never forgot it. ”
Armed with fluency in three languages, it’s Kiyo’s plan to enter the wheeling and dealing world of global commerce. “I want to get involved in importing and exporting stuff among my three countries,” he says. “America and Japan are both very powerful, and Mexico provides the labor, so—with my languages—I want to put them all to work.” And even though Kiyo has had to make a lot of adjustments as he’s moved around the world, his languages have always served him well. “It’s just always been easy for me to communicate with people—wherever I am—and to make friends with them, too. And I think that’s really gonna help me when I’m getting involved in business”
In both night and day classes, Kiyo has found real excellence in the teachers at SMC. “I was actually surprised by how good they are, because we’re just a two-year school. But I like them all,” he says. “I guess my favorite is my Physics teacher, Alex Lee. He’s a young Chinese American guy, and he always gives us useful examples in a very relaxed way, but in such a way that you actually remember it.” And that’s Kiyo. Meeting international people, working hard, and making friends.
Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.