Student Voice

2018.05.21Student Voice

Japanese Language and Intercultural Understanding: Eileen Wong Han Lin, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Akita International University upper elementary Japanese language class Universiti Sains Malaysia Eileen Wong Han Lin

Eileen (front, second from left) with Japanese Language classmates.

Eileen enjoying the Cherry Blossoms in early spring semester.

‘Once in lifetime, means there’s no second time.’ This is the quote that keep me striving with all I have while I am studying here. It’s not easy to write this article.

It’s about the different background back in my home institution, multi-racial, lingual, and culture. By the time the second week of staying in AIU had ended, deep in me I had a feeling that everything is going too fast and ending soon. Even unconsciously I feel the need to embrace this whole exchange program’s memories and bring it to the next page of my life.

Japanese Class

One of my favourite memories at AIU is my Japanese class.

All exchange students sat for a placement exam before being divided into different classes. Through the exam, we were measured according to our capacity in mastering Japanese. Therefore, I have been assigned to 206 class. There are only 10 of us in the class. It’s a small class compared to my home institution, where there were at least 30 of us.

Before each class begins, we draw sticks from a paper cup with numbers written there. If the stick you drew is written with number 5, then you will need to sit at seat 5. Thus, students get to have the chance to sit with different people in each class. Our sensei usually encourages us to speak and coordinate with the one who sits beside us and having Japanese conversation practices.

Intercultural Interaction in Class

Through this way, I have found out that it really benefits us a lot to get the chance to know how people think in different countries and to listen to their experiences and the way they made their sentences and so on. On the other hand, I appreciate our sensei who always encourages us to practice speaking Japanese which I did not dare to do in my home institution.

Getting Out of the Comfort Zone: Learning from Mistakes

It’s alright to be wrong but it’s wrong to be always right and afraid of making mistakes.

I was so afraid and staying in my comfort zone before I joined this exchange program. That kind of fear caused me to ensure I only speak Japanese when I can speak in proper sentences. However, through the guidance of our sensei, I found out that I should learn from mistakes I made.

There’s too much to share. It’s not merely about the class but also the people, activities, environment here!

At the ending of the winter, the beginning of the spring, all of us met in a sudden instant at the intersection of our life, we are sharing and cultivating each other’s’ dreams for the future.

I won’t forget the friends I have made here and believe we will meet in another corner of the earth in the future even after our exchange program.

Thanks AIU! Thanks friends who I met here!