Reflect on your language learning and acculturation during your SLA Grant experience.
After my experience abroad, I know for a fact that my understanding of Japanese has definitely improved. Other than just learning more about the language itself, I now find it easier to understand what people are saying in Japanese (as well as pick up phrases in the anime I watch) and respond articulately. I had fairly low expectations for my goals in traveling abroad, but knowing how much I have actually improved has made me realize my goals were met far beyond what I could have expected. Studying in another country truly does enhance your mastering of a language, as well as further your understanding of the country’s culture, which in turn emphasizes differences between that country and your own. For me, just simply interacting with objects and people in Japan on a daily basis helped me to engage in the country and language.
Reflect on your SLA Grant experience overall.
Japan is the third country to which I have traveled abroad to, but it hasn’t been any less of an impactful experience. In fact, since the city I was living in spoke almost wholly Japanese and little English, it may have been one of the most enlightening study abroad trips I’ve been on. It has made me realize that even if people speak different languages, have varying customs, or just generally act differently, we’re all still the same at the core. We all laugh at what we find humorous and have conversations about the strangest topics. Every time I travel, it makes me remember, bit by bit, that the world is a lot smaller than it seems, even while containing about 7.5 billion people. Anyways, other than the philosophical perspective I gained from the experience, it was a great learning opportunity. For those seeking the SLA Grant or considering studying abroad, I highly recommend going somewhere you know you’ll have an interest in and won’t get bored of easily. Every place has something to offer if you take the time to look for it.
How do you plan to use your language and intercultural competences in the future?
After my study abroad, I planned to take the next level of Japanese language, which is what I’m currently doing. From here, I hope to continue learning Japanese during my time in college, and trying to apply to opportunities that require an understanding of the particular language. A huge possibility I am considering is the JET program, which sends students to teach English in Japan for about two years. Although none of my future plans are set in stone, a possible path I could take includes working in Japan as a teacher if I enjoy my time in the JET program, or working at a company that translates Japanese texts and shows to English. Either way, I hope to integrate my knowledge into my future career, and I have the SLA Grant to thank for allowing me to learn as much as I did and help me find out what I want to use my Japanese for.