毎日日本語を勉強します! (Every day I study Japanese!)
As an international student at Flinders University, the idea of studying in a foreign country is not new to me—culture shock and adjustment, feelings of isolation and anxiousness, reverse culture shock—been there, done that. However, Australia and Japan are two very different countries. I’m super excited and grateful that I’ll have a completely new experience living in Hiroshima!
A major difference between going to Australia and Japan is the language barrier. I’m a native English speaker, but hardly know any Japanese. Hence, learning Japanese is my main focus in the weeks before I go to Japan. I feel that language is a major communication tool that is deeply embedded in and reflects, to some extent, individual cultures. It gives you clues into things like what is considered polite or important and what the culture is tied to historically. I want to learn as much as I can about Japanese people and culture on my semester exchange. As such I think it’s necessary to learn at least basic Japanese, though it isn’t required.
Speaking of goals, this is one advantage I believe having already been an international student gives me: that I have and am aware of the benefits of having a goal(s) in heading somewhere. When I came to Adelaide I was just trying living abroad by myself without any particular goal. While this is fine, I believe having some purpose or goal makes the experience that much more fulfilling and meaningful. Besides learning about Japanese people and culture, I’m also very curious about the Japanese attitude and mindset on future living, especially in terms of environmental and social sustainability. Before exploring these topics though, I first need to learn how to discuss them in Japanese!
To this end, I’ve been self-learning using Genki 1, using Memrise to supplement Genki and memorise vocabulary. Plus, today I’ve just started using Tandem, a language-exchange partnering app. It’s always fun learning new things and I’m looking forward to learning lots about everything Japanese in time to come!
直ぐに日本に行きます! Japan, here I come!
Mey Wong, Bachelor of Arts (High Achievers) is undertaking an exchange at Hiroshima University, during S2, 2019