I began to get interested in Japanese in my second year of senior high school. The trigger was an animation which I watched by chance in summer vacation. After that, I often watched anime in my spare time. I also read a lot of books about Japanese culture. Then I felt a mysterious charm in the country of Japan, wanted to know more about Japan, and thus began to learn Japanese. Through studying Japanese, I have deepened my understanding of Japan little by little. But my teachers and superiors often said that it is really necessary to live in Japan for a while and see this country with our own eyes in order to know the real Japan. As the proverb says, "One eye-witness is better than many hearsays". Therefore finally I resolved to go on a study exchange.
1. To improve my Japanese language skills
I will be able to talk with Japanese people not only in class hours but also in daily life. Besides, I also believe that by being positive (proactive?) to communicate with people around me I can also improve my communication skills.
2. To understand more deeply about both China and Japan
By seeing Japanese society with my own eyes, hearing with my ears, communicating with Japanese people, and exchanging information about China and Japan, I think I will be able to better understand not only Japan but also my own country, China.
3. To make a reference when deciding the future course
I am lost now with regard to my future career. Although I have a desire to get a job when I graduate from college, I am also thinking about earning a master’s degree from a graduate school in Japan. By experiencing 10 months of exchange life in Japan, I would like to try to look for what I really want to do, to try hard to find out what I really want to do.
How time flies. I came to Kobe from the end of September of last year. Now five months have passed and the first semester has finished. So far, feelings are stable and think that studying abroad life advances smoothly because I was getting used to life here to some extent.
Regarding classes, the contents of Japanese classes are almost the same with the universities of my own country including listening, vocabulary, grammar, and etc. But the teachers teach us not only the text but also the various things about Japan. Rather than studying Japanese, I think that it can be said that it is a lesson to study Japanese culture. In addition, as students from different countries gather in the classes, teachers also often ask the students of each country one culture, which can be compared to see the culture differences. Therefore, the atmosphere of the cross-cultural communication is created. In the classes, I think I have studied a lot of things.
In the classes of the department of literature, for study of Japanese and the Japanese culture, I took courses in different specialized classes that I am interested in, such as linguistics, Japanese history and Japanese art history. Linguistic lessons were mainly conducted according to the textbooks, so I could almost understand it if I well prepared it. However, about the classes of Japanese history and Japanese art history, I was unable to understand what the teachers said at all even though I tried my best to listen to it. I believe that the cause of this has been a confluence of various factors. First, there was no textbooks used in the classes. Second, in the classes, there were many of the hard-to-understand technical terms in Japanese that I had not heard so far. Third, the Japanese that the teacher speaked was Kansai dialect, which was different from the common language I studied in my country before. Accordingly, I keenly got aware of my lack of study and Japanese ability. By submitting a report or taking the carry-in test, I think I have almost completed them somehow, but it was really hard. Thus, I felt that the understandability of the teacher's Japanese was very important when choosing the classes. I must seriously consider the registration for the courses the next semester. Also, as I did not have confidence in the presentation before, I just avoided classes done in the form of seminar, but now I think that have to challenge it once to improve my Japanese practice and my presentation skills.
Regarding daily life, outside of class, for relax, I often go out for shopping or eating, chat with friends, and relax in the dormitory in my free time. I often go out to play on my day off, and so far have gone around to the Kobe city, Kyoto and Osaka. On this spring vacation I went to Tokyo, stayed there for 5 days and visited lots of places. It is a good experience for me, as I caught sight of even just a little about the differences between Kansai and Kanto. For example, regarding how to ride escalators, in Tokyo people stand on the left side and in the Kansai area people stand on the right side
Besides, I have been going to see "National Treasures Exhibit", a special exhibition at the Kyoto National Museum, triggered by the Japanese art history class. Through going to the exhibits, I can experience the wonderfulness of works that I had never seen before, such as the national treasures. I think that it was a big harvest to see the real thing. And, viewing the exhibition is considered useful for studying Japanese culture, so from now on I would like to go to see more exhibitions if I have time, which can encourage my study of Japanese culture. I also saw rakugo at Kobe Machizukuri Center. Although there were few young people like me in the audience and it was not so interesting, I think that I have experienced Japanese culture locally and it was really great to come to Japan
I want to learn Japanese culture better while the 10-month studying abroad life valuing days concerning half of the remainder from now on, and working hard at study.
Half of the 10 months’ exchange study life have passed. In the rest of 5 months, I think that I should treasure every day, devote myself to studying and learn more about Japanese culture.
Results of study abroad:
I have set myself three goals for study abroad before. – 1. To improve my Japanese language skills, 2. To understand more deeply about both China and Japan, 3. To make a reference when deciding the future course
I think that these goals have largely been achieved.
First, with regard to 1, from a series of experiences of receiving lectures in Japanese, submitting tasks and reports and taking an exam by 11 months' exchange study life with Japanese, I realize that I have really gained the language ability and the ability to think compared to before.
As for 2, my understanding of Japanese language and culture has deepened through the classes. And while living in Japan, I go to listen to rakugo, see exhibitions and fireworks festivals, travel, to experience and learn Japanese culture locally I feel that I have understood deeply about Japan thoroughly. In addition to Japan, I was asked various questions about China many times during my study abroad, but in reality they are the part I had overlooked myself casually. I always could not answer the questions accurately and get frustrated. After that, I looked it up on the net and thought about it by myself. Even though I often could not find the exact answer, but as I repeated it, I gradually became able to better understand about my own country, China.
About 3, I have found what I really wanted to do and what is suitable for myself during the exchange study life in this 11 months. I do not hesitate anymore now, and make up my mind to get a job after graduating from college,
Senior year is starting to come to a close. Although my Japanese skill has improved, I have not reached an academic level yet, so I will continue to learn Japanese from now on. Also, in my graduation thesis I will work hard on topics based on what I have learned in the linguistics class at Kobe University. Finally, after graduation, I want to work in a job that involves Japanese and with which I can utilize my experience of studying abroad and language skills.