Well things didn’t go exactly as planned (do they ever?) and now I’m back stateside for the 6 weeks. After my last post in Dubai I returned to the US for what was supposed to be a week long trip but family problems and finances kept me here. Since I never planned on staying here all my stuff is still in Japan! Luckily I found an awesome deal for $600 r/t from vancouver to Tokyo and I will get to go back, say my goodbyes and get all my things.
This summer I will be at Beloit College’s Center for Language Studies Program-Japanese. Starts in 3 weeks and is basically a super intensive 8 week long language camp. Middlebury was too expensive at the Monterey Institute cancelled their Japanese program so here I am. Luckily I get to take an extended break in Japan over the fourth of July (5 days!) to put my hopefully improved language skills to test. They also gave me a $1,000 scholarship even though I applied late so check their program out here at http://www.beloit.edu/cls/apply/
Next up on my travel list is Jamaica around the end of August. It will be a 4 day weekend type trip before I delve into applying for a bajillion things senior year. I need to narrow down my list to one country fora potential Fullbright opportunity. Right now its between
~Teaching in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Colombia or Bulgaria ~A masters degree in Mexico ~Research and Language studies in Japan
Basically teaching in either country would be extremely different than all that I’ve ever experienced, a masters degree would be useful and probably improve my Spanish 10 fold although I’d have to come back and get another degree in the States so more for experience and the program in Japan would hone in on my language skills and develop some research skills. What do you all think I should do? There is still is Princeton in Africa, MEXT scholarship, Pickering Fellowship and the Carnegie Fellowship that are definitely on the radar since nothing is promised to me!
I started my first semester of classes of what will be a year long exchange here at Tsuda College for the semester. I must say that it is very intense compared to the 3-5 classes and average student in the US might have. I have 9 classes! I’m currently taking Kanji, Grammar, Reading, Conversation, Japanese Society, Japanese Modern History, Japanese seminar, Australian studies and Spanish 3 (random I know). They are all very interesting classes although my Spanish class is review of things I learned in in 201. They meet once a week.
I also joined the gymnastics club which is very intensive a most Japanese clubs are. Clubs in Japan meet 5-10 hours a week while circles are more social and may meet 1-2 hours a week. I practice on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 4-7pm. No one speaks much english and I am definitely the awkward girl at practice but maybe that’ll change over the course of the next year. The have legit competitions and are even ordering a uniform for me. I may join the boxing club or samba club which practices twice a week at 7pm. Weight loss is on the horizon! It is the best way to form friendships with people my age so far.
My cooking has not improved and I mainly eat rice made with my lovely rice maker and curry packets. I supplement this with the occasional pancakes, cereal or eggs with green peppers. I attempted to make a hamburger and with only salt and pepper it turned into a giant breakfast sausage. I added syrup to make up for no ketchup. I’ve brought some vegetables and meat to make stew so I’ll let you know how that all goes. Fruit is very expensive in Japan due to the importation taxes so unfortunately I don’t eat many vegetables. I have found a new vegan restaurant in Tokyo that I plan to try out in the next couple of weeks. I need a cell phone to get around and use these train lines!
No pictures today but I promise to be more proactive in documenting my experience through photos 🙂
Yesterday was my last day of the two day orientation and I also finally got the chance to pick my classes. I’m taking 4 Japanese classes (Kanji, reading, grammar and conversation), Spanish 3, Japanese society, seminar on Japanese studies, European History and Australian History. Hopefully next semester I will be able to enroll in some classes taught completely in Japanese. Each class is once a week for 1.5 hours a day which is why I’m in so many classes for those who are wondering.
I’m adjusting very well to life here at Tsuda College and there are definitely some differences when comparing it to my home school, Spelman College. There are public showers with no privacy so it is still quite awkward for me sitting on a container near the ground showering with 10 other girls. Also, there’s no mall nearby and all the shops are at least a 20 minute walk. Luckily I rented a bike with a nice little basket and bell so hopefully I can get around a little smoother. And lastly, transportation in Japan is so expensive and all my favorite shops are 40 minutes away by train in Shibuya, Tokyo so I will be one broke college student!