JCulP students conduct required basic practice in their first year. We asked a Japanese student (JS) and an overseas student (OS) about the lessons.
What is the atmosphere like in lessons, and what are the contents of individual research?
Kanon Since almost all the lessons include discussions and presentations, all students deepen their understanding through actively participating and coming into contact with each other’s ideas. The teachers know all the students’ names and provide fine-tuned support. The lessons comprise many challenging assignments, and I really feel that my reading and writing abilities and capacity to think in English are being improved. In my individual research, I am writing a research paper on the theme of “Cultural Representations of Mt. Fuji”.
Jeonghoon Because students come from different backgrounds, in the discussions, diverse opinions are aired and the debate becomes animated. Another appealing point is that the class sizes are relatively small, which makes it easier to build close relationships with other JCulP students. For my individual research, I researched about the 1954 Gojira (Godzilla) film and its connections to the postwar era in Japan. What I also like about being a JCulP student is that you are able to conduct research on themes related to Japanese culture that interest you from various fields such as literature, movies, animation, entertainment and so on.
What is the linguistic level like?
Kanon Since I had no experience of living or studying overseas before I was enrolled, I was a little nervous about the language front, however, thanks to the support of my peers, teachers and TA, I am managing to understand the lessons in English. Thanks to the curriculum, which allows me to acquire academic English from the basics, my English ability has improved a lot in this year. In the lessons, I try to proactively speak.
Jeonghoon I was born and raised in Japan and educated at an international school; hence I am also taking subjects in which I can learn academic Japanese writing and Chinese characters (kanji). I hope to become fully comfortable taking academic classes offered in Japanese by the time I graduate.
Do you sense differences in perspective and sense of values between the JS and OS?
Kanon I am always stimulated by the positive attitude the OS have regarding study. Through the discussions, I sometimes realize that things I took for granted are not necessarily so. An OS once said, “Even though similarly shaped toilets are found all over the world, why are they called “Japanese style” in Japan?”, and this made me aware of my preconceived notion that such toilets were unique only to Japan.
Jeonghoon Since we all have the same purpose of learning about Japanese culture, I don’t sense any particular differences between the JS and OS. The OS are also stimulated by the sight of the JS working so hard. I hope that future students of JCulP will make the most out of this wonderful environment that offers us the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture from a global perspective.