Thursday, September 3, 2009

My student exchange report (in English and Japanese)




Japan hadn’t been my first choice when I first signed up for the international exchange program at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) two years ago. Back then, I applied and was selected to go to a university in the US. However, things didn’t go as planned, and I ended up with a rejected visa application and deflated hopes. Originally, I had planned to go to the US for one year and Japan the next. However, Plan A failed and I was left with only Plan B and a fear of getting rejected again. Still, I was determined to try my best to make it work the second time. I completed the application forms and prepared the required documents early and worked hard on improving my Japanese. I took Japanese classes three times a week, three hours each time. This went on for a year.

My efforts finally paid off and I passed the international exchange interview and got a visa without a hitch. Still, I couldn’t help but feel nervous, somehow expecting customs to stop me and tell me I’m not allowed to go through. Imagine my relief when I finally set foot on Fukuoka safe and sound.

It’s only human nature to notice what is different when one arrives at a new environment. I immediately took notice of the serenity and rurality of Kagoshima but marveled at the same time at how clean and organized everything was. It was also my first time to have my own apartment so I basked in the moment while worrying about the expensive rent. When classes officially started about a week after we arrived, I took in the differences between the classes I have been to in the past and the ones here in particular. Compared to the fast-paced flurry of life in Taipei, everything seemed to be laidback and relaxed in Kagoshima.

In an effort to chronicle my yearlong adventures in my new and exciting life and share my experiences to my friends and family back home, I started a blog (http://kagojen.blogspot.com/) and recorded everything interesting that crossed my path during my stay. And my stay was nothing short of interesting and memorable. Short as one year is, I had the chance to become part of numerous meaningful activities. I took part in numerous Canada Project activities, wrote research papers, articles, and reviews, hosted events, made presentations, and met a lot of important people. I also took part in many local events and met a lot of people and made lots of friends. I experienced local festivities and got a clearer glimpse of society by taking part in numerous volunteering activities. I also worked at a house-moving company for a day and learned a lot about the working culture of Japan. I also taught a total of 10 regular and non-regular students English. All my students were professionals, thus giving me more chances at getting acquainted with the local culture. Most of all, I made a lot of friends, both at school and outside, and enjoyed my downtime doing various activities and visiting several places with them.

This year, I experienced snow for the first time, climbed my first mountain, hitched my first ride, learned how to cook, developed a liking for karaoke, improved my bowling skills, published several articles, worked as a volunteer for the first time, and immensely improved my Japanese. All these and more changed me for the better, and I now have friends and experiences that I will cherish for life.

I would not exchange this experience for anything in the world!


  二年前、国立台湾師範大学の交換留学プログラムに申し込んだとき、選んだ国は日本ではなくアメリカだった。結局、ビザは発給されず行けなかった。 最初の計画は、一年間アメリカに行って、次の年は日本に行くということであった。しかし、アメリカのことがうまく行けなかったから、日本への留学もうまくいくかどうか心配になり始めた。心配しながらも、頑張って申し込みの準備をした。早めに申し込みに必要な書類を準備したり日本語学校に通ったりした。日本語のクラスは週に3回、毎回3時間、一年間続けた。

  今回は、インタビューもビサを申し込むこともうまく行った。しかし、税関を通れるかどうかまだ心配していたが、福岡に到着した時、やっと安心できた。

  人は新しい環境に入ると以前とは違ったところ気づくことは当然なことだ。鹿児島は静かだし、田舎だし、きれいだ。初めてマンションに住んだので、楽しんではいるが、高い家賃が心配でもあった。着いてから一週間して授業が始まった。台北の生活と比べたら、鹿児島はよりのんびりでより落ち着いていたと思った。

  この一年間のことを忘れないように、他の国に住んでる家族と友達にここの生活が分かるように、ブログを書き始めた( http://kagojen.blogspot.com/ )。面白い物事に関していろいろ書いた。一年間はそんなに長くはなかったが、色んな面白くて忘られないことを体験した。カナダプロジェクトのイベントに何回も参加した。イベントのための論文も、記事も、評論も書き、司会と演説者としてイベントに参加し、色んな人々と出会った。市内での色んなイベントにも普通の参加者として、またボランティアとしてたくさん参加することで、日本の文化がより理解できるようになった。一日引っ越し会社でバイトして日本の職場環境が経験できた。先生として全部で10人の生徒さんに英語を教えることができた。色んな人に会って、だんだん日本のことに詳しくなってきた。たくさんの友達ができて、暇な時は一緒に遊んで、色んな場所にも旅行した。

  この一年間に、初めての雪を見て、初めての山登りをして、初めてのヒッチハイクをして、料理ができるようになってきて、カラオケが好きになって、ボウリングができるようになってきて、色んな論文を出版して、初めてボランティアをして、しかも、日本語を話せるようになってきた。こんなにたくさんの経験をし、人間としてもっと立派になって、しかも一生忘られない友達や思い出をたくさん作ることができた。

  もう一回選ぶとしても、ぜひもう一度鹿児島に 行きたい、素敵なみんなと会いたい。


3 comments:

Thunderthud said...

Nicely written.

Booyah! said...

thanks :D

student exchange said...

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