Gradoville, Wendi


Language: Japanese

Location of Study: Japanese

Program of Study: Princeton in Ishikawa

Sponsors: Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.


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A brief personal bio: 

My name is Wendi Gradoville, and I am currently a rising Junior at Notre Dame majoring in Economics and ACMS. I grew up in Beijing China, and my interests in Japanese began at a young age, when I took an interest in Japanese popular culture. Over time, this developed into a genuine curiosity in the Japanese language and culture. Coming to University, I was given my first chance to pursue Japanese in my academics. As of now, I have studied Japanese for one and a half academic years. My Japanese is far from fluent, but I am determined to improve through this fantastic study abroad experience.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

I want to go a step further and take Japanese outside of the classroom and into the real world, where I can engage in Japanese culture and with Japanese people. I am excited to learn the cultural and language nuances that I cannot get in a classroom. As of now, I have strong intentions to pursue a career where I can use my Japanese. As an Economics and Applied Mathematics major, I intend to find a place in the financial services industry working as a financial analyst, where I can utilise the skills I’ve acquired from my majors whilst having the opportunity to work abroad in Japan. My goal for the future is to have a lifestyle and a job that can allow me to stay in contact with Japan, and I believe that the SLA Grant can help me greatly in my first step by accelerating my learning of the language.

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

The PII program provides an intensive Japanese language course, so I will be mainly focusing on improving my speaking, reading and writing skills in Japanese, and becoming more fluent in the language. In addition, a native’s language expression, style and pace of speech, and verbal intonation are aspects of the language that are hardest to learn in a classroom and most meaningfully learned through immersion, which is why the homestay opportunity at PII will be something that I will value greatly. I will take full advantage of this and engage in conversation with my host family and in the cultural activities that are offered. By the time I return, I wish to not only be more fluent in the language, but also more understanding of the Japanese culture and lifestyle.

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

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate in Japanese with native speakers on topics such as Japanese literature, policy and ethics.

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to demonstrate significant tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to take intercultural risks by engaging in cultural and linguistic interactions that are beyond my level of mastery and comfort zone.

3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to read a Japanese light novel and understand it using the dictionary very minimally.

4. 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 beyond my current Japanese coursework placement at Notre Dame.