Lake, Maria


Language: Japanese

Location of Study: Hakodate, Japan

Program of Study: Hokkaido International Foundation Japanese Language and Culture Program

Sponsors: The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies

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A brief personal bio: 

Hello! My name is Maria Lake, and I am from La Porte, Indiana. I am currently a freshman and Political Science major, but I plan to minor in Japanese and Linguistics as well. I live in Cavanaugh Hall and I am involved in Compass, the ND Irish Dance club, and Model UN. I have never traveled to Japan, but I love foreign languages and cultures and I am so excited for the opportunity travel to Japan this summer!

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This SLA grant is important to me on several levels, but two of those involve my academic and professional goals. While learning Japanese has current bearing on my plans for Japanese and Linguistics minors, it also impacts my goals beyond college. I currently plan to go abroad for graduate school after earning my Bachelor’s degree, and being proficient in Japanese will allow me to consider schools in Japan, as well as further my education in Japanese in the future. As for my professional goals, my intention is to work to become a Foreign Service Officer for the United States following graduate school. I would serve in a diplomatic position in a foreign country, and having mastery over Japanese would be greatly useful for a future in international relations and diplomacy, especially considering the strong ties between the United States and Japan. Finally, learning about foreign cultures and languages is an opportunity for personal growth, wherein I will be asked to step out of my comfort zone and expose myself to unfamiliar experiences, and that is extremely important to me and my goals for self-improvement and growth in the future.

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

Firstly, I would like to improve my understanding and mastery of Japanese immensely, but I would also like to improve my confidence in my ability to speak Japanese. I want to come back with more trust in my abilities and with basis for having that trust in my abilities. Something that is really important to me as I learn Japanese is getting over the sense for self-consciousness that I feel as someone new to learning the language. It will allow me to improve at a faster pace and feel more positive about my ability to speak and improve in Japanese. Secondly, I intend to experience as much of Japanese culture as possible, through as many people as I can. I want to meet native speakers and I want to experience the culture there as much as possible, as it will be unlikely that I will ever get a chance quite like this one. I know Japanese culture is incredibly different in a lot of ways from the culture I am used to in the Midwest of the US, but I am looking forward to seeing how these cultural differences impact different aspects of life.

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

1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate with native speakers of Japanese in a natural conversation.

2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to understand more nuances of Japanese language and culture that are particular to Japan.

3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to recognize, read, and write kanji far more naturally and more comprehensively.