Friday, May 13, 2016


Study abroad is going to be an amazing opportunity to gain experiences which will help me in my future vocation(s).  Right now, I am studying writing and communications as well as literature. While at the University of Essex, I will take several writing and literature classes.  A marketable writer is able to write in a variety of contexts, and by taking creative writing non-fiction, I will be applying my writing skills to a genre I have never had the opportunity to try.  Although we have a creative writing non-fiction course at Maryville, I was unable to take the class because of a course requirement conflict. Having the opportunity to take this class abroad will definitely help me in my career.
The University of Essex also has a Creative Writing Centre, which I will definitely take advantage of while I am studying there.  It offers a place to research for my writing.  The school also boasts an amazing array of professors who have experience being published playwrights, poets, song-writers, novelists and even travel writers! I hope to meet and attend classes with as many of these professors as I can, so I can gain the knowledge I need to start a successful career in writing. Another one of my goals for this trip is to really figure out what it is I want to do with my writing skills. I've interned with marketing departments; I've written blogs; I've published poetry and worked on newspapers, but I've never really decided on one thing I would like to do. As someone who has never traveled internationally before, I'm also hoping this experience will help me decide how much travel I want to do in my career and how best I can accomplish the travel I want to do without sacrificing my career choice.

An American Abroad

As an American abroad, my biggest goal is to not reinforce the ignorant American stereotype. I hope to set an example to others about how Americans truly act, and that we are not as crazy as Hollywood makes us seem. However, in order to do that, I must first further my own knowledge about Japan.

The cultural context survey results surprised me: I scored only 7 points higher in Low Context than High Context. As I have only ever extensively spoken English, I expected the Low Context score to be higher. This is slightly encouraging to me as Japanese is a High Context language. It will help me to communicate more like a local than a foreigner. In the self-audit survey, I scored fairly high in the openness category: this will help me to understand others and determine what I need to do in order to fit in. Finally, I found that I scored very highly in independence: this will especially be helpful as I will be entering an experience unlike any other that I have previously had.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

An American Abroad

Being an American abroad has so many different meanings. For me, being an American abroad refers to going outside of your norm and doing things that are unexpected and going to places that you have never have gone before.. As a Maryville College student studying abroad in an Asian country I expect to see many things pop up that are new to me. Different culture, language, setting etc. Overall I think as I await my final preparations to study abroad being an American is something to be proud of. Even as a foreigner, I can still appreciate what other people think in terms as being an outsider. However, in the end as I await my final steps into the Land of the Rising Sun, it'll surely be a moment I'll never forget.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Vocational Goals

While studying abroad in itself is a goal of mine, there are other goals that I hope to accomplish abroad.  I am very passionate about service work, and impacting my community in a positive way! Ulster University has a strong push for students to serve. Volunteer work offers so much experience in amazing ways. It can be an incredible way to connect with the locals while also benefitting the community. Service work also acts a way to reduce stress. Putting time and effort into helping others can take your mind off difficult classes or general stress.
    I am also planning on completing my minor in biology abroad. While I am a mathematics major, my true passion is biology. Ulster University is offering classes that will count towards my minor but are not offered here at Maryville College. One such class is Epidemiology of Disease. This class will count as an upper-level bio class for minor , but this class also offers insight into what I will be doing as a career. I am very interested in biostatistics so I am also hopeful that professor might have connections that could be useful for my future career.
   Lastly, I am the current Marketing Committee Chair for Student Programming Board. I love connecting with all the campus in such an intimate way. Helping plan and coordinate events is a great way to make friends as well as contribute to your campus. I would truly love to be a part of the programming team if at all possible.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vocational Goals

As a international student of going to an uncharted territory, I won't get nearly as involved unlike others because my primary focus for my study abroad experience is study and use the language by means of traveling instead of the culture.

Due to my experience in the United States with Japanese in a college (which was overall a poor experience for me as a student of the language in addition to a negative learning environment). Furthermore, my confidence in the language has diminished. I would highly suspect that people who study abroad use it as a expensive a vacation instead of actually learning.

There are couple people on the blogs expressing their feelings in a selfish, perfectionist tendency that is persistent throughout as if they have a "I know everything" attitude. Speaking about language, there was a girl's post I saw once on social media stating that it was difficult to get directions in her host country. After I saw that, I said to myself "I don't want to make that same mistake again". Thus, I will prep myself (as I already am) to some kick some serious お尻 and make sure I become the best in the program as it pertains to my goals by not speaking English the entire time, speak more in my second language, etc.

As mentioned above, the reason I am more focused on the language than anything else. Becoming accustomed into the country must pertain an amount of considerable language ability to live comfortably (which is the precise definition of global proficiency). Doing this you can give access to live and enjoy the culture.

As a 日本語王 like myself, I'm already well equipped with various materials at my disposal. Nevertheless, with friends and family who have seen my second language progress....私は言わば花だ。だが、ユニークな花に成っている。Surely, one day, I will become a master of the devil's tongue and the spectacular thing is I'm already on my way!!


Academic Differences

There are several academic differences between Japan and United States. First off, the atmosphere in the classroom is different from the laid back atmosphere (sweats and a shirt) found in the States. Contrasting this, Japanese universities want students coming in for a cleaner look (i.e. shirt and jeans). 

Accessing the info for the classes are similar to the BlackBoard but however from my research it'll show only the teacher and course description. Since we have 192 contact hours (6 credits for the class) for a total of 8 weeks. Grading system is as follows 

Anything higher: A+

80-89% - A

70-79% - B

60-69% - C

One last thing to mention is because of the ranking system, we are expected to be very polite to our teachers, hence, they are our superiors. Full time status is normally considered to be 6 credit hours (reason being is that because its a summer program there is going to be less) however there is a 2 additional credit for a "fun" class that you can partake in which also corresponds to the 6 hour language credit. In other words, the language credit and full time status are the same. 

Living like a Local

Normally when you study abroad people often ask you how your going to maintain being your true self while growing on aspects that you need academically and usually my answer is that being immersed into the culture and speaking the language.However with me, things are going to be different: speaking with 100% No English whatsoever is the goal I hope to achieve during my time in Japan. Moreover, I believe that too getting involved with the locals (i.e. speaking and interacting with them) are vital to getting acclimated within the culture. Thus with the intent of not speaking any English over there and be within the Kyushu area and travel throughout that region; some parts outside of Kyushu.

In conclusion, I'll be adapting to the culture and becoming akin to a Japanese person as much as possible. Therefore, I'm really looking forward to study abroad this year and am ready prepare for another 日本語 journey!!