To be honest, I have never thought of pursue Japanese as my major in college nor I would ever get a chance to study abroad. When I was younger, my impression of Japan is almost about its high-quality electronic devices, Honda bike which is so popular that everyone has one or even two of them in their house, etc. But as I grow older, I started to learn a lot more about the culture, and the more I learned, the more excited I got. I remember I was so amazed when I heard about the “omotenashi culture”, the “aimai hyogen” which is the way that Japanese people use euphemism in conversations, etc
So when I got into my senior year of college, I decided to apply for the Exchange student program and study abroad for one year at University of Marketing and Distribution (UMDS). The main reason that I chose UMDS is because of its fulfilling study program. Here I can choose from various subjects such as Marketing, Travelling, Accounting, etc. In the future I would like to become a professional interpreter. The job requires not only high Language skills but also a vast social knowledge. So, I think studying here is a great opportunity for me to strengthen my Japanese skills, get a deeper knowledge about the country to achieve my future goal.
Six months went by so quickly, now I'm counting my time left here before coming back to my normal life in my home country. Surprisingly, for someone who has never lived far away from home like me, I do not feel lonely or left out at all. I can totally see how easy it is for foreigners to live here.
So far, my journey here has been super amazing. During the last six months I have had some of the best experiences in my life. I have got a chance to capture the beauty of cherry blossoms in spring, enjoy fireworks and summer festival in the summer, and about to witness the stunning red leaves in autumn. I got to visit Todaiji in Nara- one of the oldest and largest temples in the word, Osaka, famous theme park Universal city, experience riding on ropeway to Rokko Mount,. But to be honest, the trip that impressed me the most is to visit The Great Hanshin- Awaji Earthquake Memorial museum in Kobe. That trip has left inside me some mixed feelings between sorry and admiration. In there, I could see what really happened to this city over 20 years ago in a massive earthquake. Everything collapsed, houses, buildings, everything broke down. Seeing that dreadful moment is a really memorable and special experience that I am not gonna forget.
In terms of academics, unlike what I had imagined that exchanged students would only focus on studying Japanese language, Umds exchange program offers me a great opportunity not only to improve Japanese alone, but also to expand my knowledge in various areas. This definitely gives me a good preparation for my future.
One year is about to come to an end. To me, one year is such an ideal amount of time to explore a new country and have a good understanding of a new culture. Knowing having such a limited amount of time urges me to learn quickly and to live every day to the fullest. During the past year I have grown so much and have achieved so many goals that I had set before. I am now confident to attend courses designed for Japanese students, I am now able to read professional articles about Japan's economy, traveling, etc in Japanese, and most importantly I can use my language skills as a tool to have a deeper conversation with Japanese people whom I have always has an admiration for. As for my future plans, after graduating from university, I'd love to spend some few more years abroad to broaden my knowledge and work at an international company where I can utilize my language skills. After that, I want to return to my home country Vietnam to share my learning experience and hopefully can help people who share the same interests of studying languages like me