To : Jun-Japanese
When I was a student (2006-2010), I felt that SILS students could be one of the two groups, one is a group of students who spoke English very well, such as returnee students and foreign students. And the other is Japanese students who are not so good at English. I was definitely the latter, which was called “Jun-Japa”, because I had never even took a plane in my life before. I am not sure if they still use the word “Jun-Japa”, but I am sure some are hesitate to go to SILS just because they are not good at English, or because they don’t have many international experiences. For me, personally, after graduating SILS, I entered sales company of Japanese Manufacturer. Now, I am lent out to an affiliated company in NY, and I am very satisfied with my job and life. “I would like to study / work abroad, but I am not confidence with my English”, “I would like to work internationally, but not at a foreign-affiliated firm.”, I am sure there are many people who think like that, and I think I was a typical type of those. I don’t want to be too formal or too pushy here. But if I could share my experience with someone who are afraid of going to SILS because of English, and if my experience is encouraging, that would be great.
Experience > Knowledge
This is just my personal opinion, but what you should obtain from university life is “Experience” rather than “Knowledge” unless you want to be an expert after graduating university. Of course, I am not mentioning that you do not need to study, because studying is also one part of “Experience”. But as a member of society, what is more useful is “way of thinking”, “way of working on the problem”, “way of communicating with people with different backgrounds”, which come from “Experience”. In SILS, we can improve ourselves from everyday classes, because many SILS classes are not one-way lecture, but they include more group-work or presentation. Some say that SILS has no specific major, but there are no better schools to gain wide “experience” than SILS. It may be at first confusing for ones who are not good at English, but once they get used to the environment, SILS is the best place to improve not only English, but ourselves. During the job hunting, I was often asked that “You are good at English, aren’t you?”. But for me, what I gained from SILS is not English, but “Experience”. If you are hesitant to go to SILS because of your English, I really recommend to challenge without hesitation.
As indicated above, I believe what we can gain the most from SILS is not “Knowledge”, “English”, but “Experience”. How to communicate with people from different background, how to work on problems independently, how to output our own thought to others, these kind of experience will be very useful no matter what you do after graduating university. And that will show you huge possibility, including working abroad. Its very pity to stay inside of small island country just because lack of English ability or international experience. Area of Japan is only 0.25% against worldwide land area. If we suppose worldwide land size is the same as Japan, 0.25% is only the half of Kagawa Prefecture, which is the smallest prefecture in Japan. I know I went too far in my argument, but don’t you think it is too limited to stay within half of Kagawa prefecture for our entire life? (My apology to whom from Kagawa prefecture. It is just as a metaphor.) Of course, just working in NY does not mean at all that I saw the world. Rather, the more I talk with many people from all over the world, the smaller I feel myself. But there is no doubt that my experience in SILS triggered my working abroad. I hope to gain more and more international experience in the future to broaden my view.