Location of Study: Nagoya, Japan
Program of Study: Nanzan Summer Japanese Program
Sponsors: The Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
Hi! I’m Logan Yokum! I’m a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame and am currently studying Computer Science and Japanese. I’m from the great city of New Orleans, Louisiana. In my free time, I like to play frisbee, make computer programs, chat with my friends living in Japan, and draw. I’m also an active member of AAA, KSA, Japan Club, VSA, Linux Users Group, and Fossil Free ND.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
The SLA is fundamental to my plans to work in Japan as a software engineer after I graduate from ND. From my experience studying abroad in Japan last summer, I realized how pivotal study abroad is to the acquisition of a foreign language. Before this, my Japanese language skills were good on paper; but I severely lacked oral proficiency and flow of conversation. The root cause of this was that I was unable to think in Japanese so I would need to spend much time translating in my head. Since I had to use Japanese for everything in Japan, I gradually overcame this barrier; and my proficiency improved immensely. I became able to hold meaningful conversations entirely in Japanese and even learned to work around the deficiencies in my grammatical knowledge. By receiving the SLA Grant, I am now able to undergo another intensive Japanese program to further my Japanese knowledge in preparation for the Japanese Language Prociency Test I will take next semester. The biggest barrier to study abroad for me has been the enormous travel costs. Without the grant, my family simply would not have been able to afford such a life-changing opportunity again.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
During my time in Japan, I have many goals that I hope to achieve. First and foremost, I plan to increase my web of connections in Nagoya and surrounding areas by regularly attending language tables and interacting with the students of Nanzan University. From my previous experience abroad, one of the most fulfilling parts of the program was the friends that I made in Hakodate and Sapporo. Even now, I still communicate with my Japanese friends over LINE and Skype. By keeping in touch with them, I have been able to learn a lot about casual-style Japanese (as opposed to the polite-style that we learn in our classes at Notre Dame) and have been receiving first-hand guidance in the proper use of certain grammar structures that I am learning in class. Additionally, I hope to improve my proficiency to a point where I no longer need to rely on a dictionary or additional explanation in everyday conversation. I believe one of the biggest struggles I face in Japanese is increasing my working vocabulary, especially for words that are seldom used in regular conversation. I believe I will be able to achieve these goals by the end of the program.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak, read, write, and listen at a level of proficiency equal to two semesters of intensive Japanese classes at Notre Dame.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate readily and easily with native speakers about a variety of topics, including politics, climate change, and religion.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to write professional-grade essays in Japanese using a large number of Kanji.
4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to give speeches and presentations in Japanese, as well as support my ideas in the face of counterarguments.