When studying abroad there is a tendency for all to cling to familiar things. Perhaps seeking out cultural stuff from home. Or only spending time with those in your language or from your home country/region. I’m guilty of this, and if I want to enjoy my time in Japan, I’m going to have to venture out further. There is no other option.
First steps are the most frightening due to the unknown result, and when abroad, it’s easy to hide from going out on a limb in a way. Mental retreating, social, cultural, linguistically, and so forth. Sometimes, professors will purposefully pair native students with the abroad students. But, there is always the encouragement that without the professor’s coaxing, one will have to throw themselves into the wave of events on their own.
In spite of my own knowledge that people often think not as badly of you as you might. I too am highly critical of any of my actions. Which is good, unless you then are without action. If that’s the case, you’re undermining your own end goals. Even if your interest in being in another land is purely for language purposes, you are missing out on an immense piece without cultural immersion. By popping yourself into the mix you will get speech training, new vocabulary/phrases, comfortability, pacing practice, and so forth. It’s terribly important to get this sort of stuff down. Not to mention, there are numerous native students who want the same thing, and by making the first move you are helping them out a great deal. Sometimes people other than yourself may be shy.
Today I was paired up with a Japanese student, and she was probably just as shy as I was looking at in hindsight. However do to my awkwardness I wasn’t sure if I should continue talking to her about the project after the class’ end. After all, I gave her my e-mail. Though she stood there for some time, also motionless, probably unsure what to do. So, I’m going to have to put more effort into ripping off the bandage so-to-speak, and force myself into uncomfortable places, lest I waste perfectly good opportunities for growth.
In Nagoya, there are ways to circumvent cultural experience, and I highly discourage them. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to eat something you might back home. Other times, even at say, an Italian restaurant, one can find food that you would never find at home. Squid pizza comes to mind. So, sometimes even what you assume will be home sweet home, will toss you a surprise.
Also, there is a tendency to cling onto friends whom with you speak the same language. While I understand this and even from a logical point of view can defend it, too much of your native language whilst learning the language of the country to which you are visiting is poisonous to your development. We all sound like morons when we start out. Your new friends will understand your learning their language. They won’t think badly of you, they will probably if anything appreciate your effort.
I apologize for the shortness of this entry, and it is much later than I wished to post it. The good news in that is that the lateness was derived from considerable amounts of school work, tests, vocabulary, and grammar studies. Though the large workload is common in Japan apparently—this week for some reason had been very time consuming. So, I will make sure my next entry is on time.
Anyhow, I hope you have a splendid day/night/or both,