In this post I will share some aspects of my journey into language study.
I started learning Japanese in the fall of 2014. I was a sophomore at my university, and I was really interested in Japanese culture. I decided to take the first steps towards learning Japanese, because it’s always good to have another language under your belt. Initially, it was challenging for me to learn things on my own. However, after about a year of hard work and dedication, I had learned all the basics! That’s when my mom suggested that we go on an exchange trip together with our family friend (who is also a professor). He had already planned this trip over 10 years ago! We spoke with him about our plan for an exchange trip with him and his family (his son speaks English!), and he agreed that it would be fun if we could go together! All four of us were very excited about this idea because we knew Japan would be very different than America (where we live), but still enjoyable nonetheless. We booked tickets for later in the summer of 2015, but before then there were some other things that had to be done first…
How did I prepare?
Three months before our big adventure began; both parties started preparing seriously for what was ahead of us. learning English is hard for me. I’m not good at it, and I don’t like studying it (hehe). However, I knew that English would be useful to us during our trip to Japan. I wanted to be able to communicate with the people around us during our travels. Also, my parents were afraid of getting lost in Japan without knowing how to speak Japanese well enough. It was important for me to learn enough English so that we could understand them when they asked us questions or told us where something was located!
I began practicing my Japanese because it would help me on the exchange trip as well as improve my overall knowledge of the language itself. My mom started studying her Japanese skills again as well! She has always been interested in learning more about this language, but she had never really taken steps towards doing so until this point in time. However, this language is really difficult. I don’t want to tell you guys lies; it’s super hard! But, it’s worth the effort, and I will show you how to learn Japanese in the next couple of paragraphs.
A few weeks before our summer vacation began; my parents and I started planning out what we were going to do during our trip to Japan. We learned that there was an opportunity for us to go on a homestay with some Japanese family members of my mom’s friend (the professor that invited us on this trip). My mom loves cooking, so she wanted us to try out making some traditional food during our stay there so he could see how much we had improved with our cooking skills over time. This would be great for him because his Japanese wife doesn’t like cooking at all! They have two sons together who are both college students now (I think they’re around 23 or 24 years old). One of them studies engineering, and the other one studies economics at a local university in Japan. We met up with them once before leaving America for Japan because he knew about how bad my English was when we first met each other four years ago… but anyways… back onto topic!
We wrote down a list of things that we wanted the kids who would be staying at their home to help us do while we were there: preparing meals together as well as teaching them more about American culture.
What’s the conclusion?
Throughout this blog post, I have described some of the things that I did before going on this exchange trip to Japan. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my experiences with language learning and preparation for our experience in Japan! Next time, I will describe how our journey went. Until next time…