Tu, Kuan

Tu, Kuan

Name: Kuan Tu
E-mail: Kuan.Tu.5@nd.edu
Language: Japanese
Location of Study: Hokkaido, Japan
Program of Study: Hokkaido International Foundation
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures,Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies

A brief personal bio:

My name is Kuan Tu. I am from Shanghai, China. I am a sophomore, majoring in Accounting and Japanese. I am always interested language learning and travelling. I have been to most places in China, Malaysia, Europe, and I traveled with friends in the US in 2011 before I came here to study. I like visiting foreign places, enjoying local food, and knowing about different cultures. In particular I am fascinated by Japanese modern culture and literature so I am now learning Japanese as my third language. I have never been to Japan before and I am looking forward to living there this summer.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

I am learning Japanese not only because I am interested in its culture but also because it would be critical to my future career. Now the USA, Japanese and China are the three largest economies in the world. They have created great wealth and provided lots of work opportunities; Needless to say, there is a good chance that I will be dealing with people from these countries, which require me to speak their languages. Currently I am studying Accountancy and Japanese in the US. Being able to speak Chinese, English and Japanese will definitely make me stand out. The Japanese language program I will be attending this summer will cost me around $8000, so SLA Grant definitely gives an enourmous financial support.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

This summer, I wish to learn two things Japanese language and cullture. The classes are intensive and the environment is fully immersive. The demanding course includes a total of 140 hours equivalent to two semesters of college-level Japanese classes. Besides, I will need to study for at least three hours after class every day. Although it is demanding, my advisor recommended me to take the challenge, saying that I should be able to achieve success in this program. Having looked at the content of the program and the daily schedule, I find it extremely rewarding, and suitable for me who has great passion for learning Japanese. I believe the two-month intensive studies would improve my Japanese enormously.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand news reports and newspapers in Japanese, and be able to communicate with native speakers both in daily conversations and on academic topics.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

Besides completing homework and studying Japanese every day, I will travel in the vicinity to visit interesting places and hot spots and participate in cultural activities such as Kyudo and Kendo. I will try to make a couple of Japanese friends so that I can hang out with them on weekends and they can show me around the city. If time allows, I will travel to other cities such as Tokyo, experiencing different cultures and practicing Japanese through conversations with native speakers.

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Reflection on my language learning and intercultural gains:

It has been a wonderful summer in Kyoto, Japan. I had a very intensive course in KCJS, along with various cultural activities. At the same time, I traveled a lot and made some really good Japanese friends. I think the key to master a language is to use what has been learned constantly in practical situation. Through talking to my friends, I have learned a lot that can never be found in textbooks: interesting expressions, Japanese society, pop culture, etc.My Japanese conversation partner hung out with me almost every weekend and took me to karaoke and izakaya, and I did not seem to have experienced any cultural shock. We all had a great time and did a good job living like local in Kyoto.

Reflection on my summer language abroad experience overall:

This trip allowed me to know a great deal about the Japanese people really are. They are polite, modest, and punctual, but sometimes very shy and reserved; their society is organized and convention-governed, but has lots of hierarchy. Before I went, I thought the Japanese seldom express what they really think. Although there is an element of truth in it, I found Japanese equally sincere compared to the average Americans or Chinese, especially when they became my friends. During my stay in Kyoto, I always reminded myself that I should forsake all prejudices and I was glad that succeeded in doing that. One thing I would suggest future SLA Grant receiver is to spend some time everyday exploring the city instead of studying all the time.

How I plan to use my language and intercultural competences in the future:

I will continue to study Japanese. This summer experience has prepared me well for my Japanese study in the coming academic year. Also, I have grown interested in translating Japanese into English and Chinese. I found this language so beautiful that it would be a shame if it is not translated well. I hope in the future I will have the opportunity to come back to Japan, or even study and work there.