Lee Yueh Feng is a second-semester exchange student at AIU from Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan.
Language Challenges and Learning in a Practical Environment
I started learning Japanese about ten years ago. However, I couldn’t really speak Japanese, therefore I made up my mind to expose myself to an all-Japanese environment.
Being an Resident Assistant (RA) is one of the best ways since all the other RAs are Japanese. All of our meeting discussions and events are conducted in Japanese. To be honest, I really struggled at first. I could only understand around 40% of the content, and I had to ask my RA friends afterward every time. The cultural difference was also a big problem too. Expressing opinions, using the honorific, and every bit of communication was different from what I was used to.
However, I did not give up. Instead, I tried to learn little by little every time and I really enjoy working as RA now.
RA System at AIU
What surprised me a lot is how much effort the school puts into the RA teams. The very organized schedule, prior preparation, dedicated training program before the start of the work, and the personal consultant for the RAs. Everything they do makes you feel that they value you and care about you. RAs can do the job without any worries.
Such extensive care and beforehand planning is a very unique aspect of Japanese culture in my opinion.
Valuable Leadership Experience
After RA training, I learned that being a leader is very important. “Listening” is the most useful skill that I have learned.
As RA, I have to interview residents. All of the residents come from different backgrounds. I need to understand their problems and help them solve those problems. When dealing with this, "listening" makes you understand others more, thus makes it easier to help them. After solving the problem, I always build up a strong friendship with them and this is my favorite part. I believe this skill will influence my whole life.
The solid training makes the team united and work efficiently. RAs are required to be the leader of an event at least once. Sometimes I had to be a leader; sometimes I needed to be a follower.
This was a very good experience for me to understand more about Japanese culture, especially in terms of how Japanese people work together. After working in different positions in different events, I found out that I am really interested in Marketing and this may be my future career choice.
Serving as RA will be my most unforgettable experience during the study abroad in AIU. I believe this is not a usual experience, which you can get from everywhere and I feel honored to be able to be an RA in AIU.