JSP motivated my cross-cultural research
When I was an undergraduate student I had the chance to participate in the Japan Studies Program (fall 2009) through an exchange agreement with my home university. What started out as a vague fascination for Japan rooting only in movies and comic books, turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life. Some years later I wrote my doctoral thesis about cultural differences between German and Japanese investors in the stock markets, and returned to Japan in the course of this research. The language skills and cultural understanding that I gained at TIU were invaluable assets. Without the great teachers, dear friends and my fabulous host family from JSP, it would have never been possible.
Study, travel, explore
With the intensive Japanese courses and living with a Japanese host family, my literacy in Japanese has improved in just a short amount of time. Being able to meet many new friends internationally has broadened my world wide views. I am thankful to have been able to learn and experience Japan through JSP.
Head first into Japan from someone that only knew ‘Konnichiwa’
Having only dreamt about coming to Japan, I jumped on the opportunities TIU had to offer including open enrollment for those who have zero experience with the language. As a Fine Arts major I had absolutely no prior knowledge of Japanese before arriving. While I had my worries, the classes eased any doubt I had about my ability to learn. The faculty is so passionate and cares for your learning experience. I’ve come from not being able to read any hiragana to being able to understand and partake in conversations with native speakers. I’ve grown an incredible amount in my Japanese and I owe it to the amazing teachers at TIU for making it a fun and fulfilling experience. It feels good to know more than just ‘Konnichiwa!’
There is always something to do in Japan
I came to Tokyo International University to share with my friends and family an experience different from the majority of the students in Towson who study abroad in Osaka. In the Saitama area, there is a perfect blend of Edo-Period culture and various modern thrills. About half an hour away is Tokyo Prefecture, in which you will never be bored. After having some troublesome, yet adventurous experiences in the Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, I was able to learn the train system in less than a month. Although complex, the train system is one of the best in the world. From the bright lights of the Tokyo Sky Tree to the and Fuji-TV Building in Odaiba to the traditional scenery in Kamakura and Odawara, Japan is a beautiful country that demands and encourages travel. There are so many trips that are worth taking, like visiting the legendary Oda Nobunaga temple ruins in Kyoto or going out with friends to Disney Sea in Chiba. There is always something to do in Japan. If I could, I would get married and grow old in Yokohama.
Using the Brand New Japanese Plaza
The Japanese Plaza opened about a month after I arrived in Japan. At the beginning, it was a little intimidating because you’re only allowed to speak Japanese there. However, after visiting a couple times, I became much more comfortable there. It’s a great place to get homework done or just relax in between classes. The Japanese teachers’ offices are inside the plaza, and are always willing to answer questions or help me review my homework. There’s also books and manga of different reading levels to practice with, and even some old textbooks you can borrow. To me, it’s a very nice environment to study in.
Do what you love and make new friends
I was encouraged to join a school club and found the Photography Club. It was a wonderful decision, as it has given me a new way to meet not only other Japanese students, but people with similar interests. I’ve made many new friends through the club’s weekly meetings and occasional events. Based on my experience, I suggest you find a club or circle that interests you!
I Would Do it All Again
I came to Japan to make new friends and to have new adventures, and for me JSP has been a match made in heaven. From exploring Tokyo to taking on midterms together, your JSP friends will be friends for life. And while the Japanese classes may seem difficult at times, as long as you put in the effort and show up to class you won’t ever be left behind.
Three Cities, One Day
If there was one word I could use to describe my time in Kansai, it would definitely be crazy. It was the most amazing opportunity, and I saw so many things that I would never be able to imagine. During our one free day, my friends and I explored Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka, starting at eight-thirty that morning and arriving back at the hotel sometime around ten or eleven. Despite the inevitable problems that occur when traveling, I think I will always remember my time there and would happily do it again—maybe with a little more time.
PAs help JSP students live comfortably in Japan.
I am a peer assistant (PA). PAs help JSP students live comfortably in Japan. We organize fun events and take you to sightseeing spots. I enjoy conversations with JSP students and learning different culture from each other. I hope you will have precious experiences in Japan and make many friends!