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  • viennamf 7:30 pm on April 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , remix,   

    Finally, A Reflection 

    I see Japan everyday. It’s been over four months since I returned from Hikone and not a day goes by that I don’t have some memory of my time there. It’s a little sad but they are all good memories. It’s a pleasant haunting.

     Image

    I meant to write a final blog post for AsiaPod a long time ago but as per usual, all sorts of other things got in the way.  My study abroad in Japan was the best experience I could have wanted.  Of course, there are always a few regrets but nothing that substantially mars my experience. I have tried to keep in some contact with the people I met there, both Japanese and American, and Facebook is especially helpful with this.

    In the days following my return to the States, I remember feeling odd.  It was definitely weird to be back in a place where the dominant language was English and I didn’t have to struggle to come up with a sentence, but this was actually a lot less strange than I had anticipated.  The weirdest part was the realization that nothing had changed since I had been gone. I had undergone a profound change and had had all these experiences in another place, but everyone at home had just been living their regular lives.  I felt like I didn’t fit into my American life anymore, but there was an expectation for me to just pick up where I left off. The first few weeks home were hazy and I felt disconnected.  It took me about a month to fully recover from the jetlag.

    I think coming back to school grounded me.  The structure of college life and classes gave me a framework to reintegrate into and some of the people I live with had just come back from abroad as well. This meant that we could all talk incessantly about being abroad without worrying that we were boring the other person.

    There are many parts of my study abroad that have stuck with me, but perhaps the most eye opening experience was learning what it felt like to be living in a country where you could not easily communicate. I have a new appreciation for the struggles that immigrants and international students face.  I think it can be difficult to fully understand why some people don’t learn to speak English when they come to the US if you haven’t experience the difficulty of learning an entirely new language first hand.  Your brain starts to hurt after awhile and eventually you want to take a break and just be around those who speak the same language as you.  That is not to say that I did not like learning and living in another language; being able to practice my Japanese was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed.

    My iPod Touch was actually an invaluable resource for my language study in Japan and it continues to help me with my language study here on campus.

    Image

    My favorite app was Kotoba!, a Japanese-English dictionary. It was free and I use(d) it constantly. You can look up words in both Roman characters and in Japanese characters as well as search for kanji.  It also allows you to save lists of words and this made a great reference tool. I do not know what I would have done without it.

    Image

    The other language app that I liked and continue to use was a Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) study app called JLPT Study.  You can download a free version, or get the full app for about $5. I bought it and used it to learn new vocab and kanji.  I am sure that I could have gotten by without the iPod but it made my life so much easier. (Thanks so much, AsiaPod!)

    I really miss Japan and I plan to go back there one day. How and when I do not yet know but it would be foolish to not try to get back.

     
    • jhboisselle 6:29 pm on April 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Vienna, thanks much for sharing concrete suggestions for apps! And, of course, thanks for capturing your transition thoughts in writing and sharing them outward. Readers, current and future, will appreciate the glimpse into your experiences.

  • Tra 5:17 pm on March 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: remix,   

    Afterthought 

    I dread the lonely bus rides

    I dread the long haul red eye flights

    I stared at a burger and dreamt of Pho

    I turned on Skype, just to hear the homeland’s sound

     

    30 hours of travelling away, there they are

    Trade burger for pho and a bowl of rice

    Say “Hello” to me in my language and make me smile

    I am seeing my hometown through their eyes

     

    The distance between East and West, I don’t know the number

    On this cyber space, it doesn’t really matter…

     

    ~Trà WS’12

     
    • DougReilly 6:26 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Tra, I can see why Newhouse wanted you as a graduate student. You have always had a lovely way with words, spoken and written, and this a beautiful example. Don’t let your profs at Newhouse convince you to go into advertising, okay, because if someone bad like a cigarette company hired you, everyone would be smoking in no time. Doug

    • Tra 3:15 am on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Tea for Tra and commented:

      One of the post I did last year for HWS Asiapod blog. I miss the fellow wanderlust souls I got to work with back there.

  • melinthemiddle 2:40 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , remix   

    Impact 

    Proudly created with the help of my new iTouch

     
    • DougReilly 6:27 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That’s what we want to see!

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