I want to study abroad in Japan to gain cultural and social perspective. Life is all about making an impact on others’ lives. To do this, you have to be a good communicator. Being a good communicator doesn’t mean perfecting new languages with no accent; it means accepting a culture that greatly differs from one’s own to gain new perspective on life. This is how people become more tolerable, and understanding in communicating with people. In industry or academia, the most valuable skill a person can have is the ability to communicate ideas. My inspiration to study abroad is the overwhelming sense of how, over the last 15 years, technology has come so far to make the world a united global community, yet we still have so much conflict and intolerance. I believe people want to be more connected. The obstruction that truly stands in the way is a lack of communication.
The program of study I chose is the Japan Tokyo Summer Program offered by College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS) coordinated through Bunker Hill. After looking for a year and a half for the right program, there were three factors that sold me on this program. The first reason has to do with the reputation and location of the hosting school. Founded in 1983 and located in Shinjuku, KCP International Japanese Language School is a highly regarded language school. Second, KCP features an 11 to 1 teacher ratio. On top of the great teacher-student ratio, they are one of the few institutions that have English-speaking staff to provide support through special tutorials in English. This means students get the help they need when they need it. The third reason is the time frame for this program. The curriculum they have crafted, over the 30 years, takes students from beginner to advanced Japanese. They designed an experience that is immersive and engaging, which is crucial in memory retention, and packed it into an 8-week program.
The reason why I chose Japan is because I have many important people in my life (mentors, friends, and classmates) who are Japanese. I don’t know what my life would be like without them. I feel that by learning about and experiencing their culture, I would develop a deeper appreciation for them as well a stronger connection to, those who have made an impact on my life. I can use this experience to pay that impact forward in others’ lives. The second reason I chose Japan is because I love their history. Who doesn’t know of the legendary Samurai? They are famous for military prowess, the Bushido code (the way of the warrior) philosophies and so much more; and that’s only a tiny aspect of all there is to appreciate. Japan has lots of interesting eras and periods. They truly value their history the good the bad and the ugly. They have many preserved buildings and restored landmarks to proudly celebrate that history and educate future generations. Finally, I chose Japan for my study abroad application because I enjoy many aspects of Japanese culture and I want to experience more. I love Japanese food and drink such as sushi and macha tea. My favorite artist of all time has to be Hokusai known around the world for The Great Wave of Kanagawa. To be able to experience and appreciate the culture first hand in an immersive experience would be an opportunity of a lifetime!
On a personal level, from an early age I had a fascination with Japan. My favorite show is Dragon Ball (a popular Japanese cartoon), which I watched all through elementary, middle, and high school. Unfortunately I never got a chance to take Japanese as a language because my schools never offered it, so I bought books to learn on my own. As an effort to get more exposed to Japanese social culture, I got an internship at a Japan based company called Information Development (ID). I currently work as a recruiter for ID. We do a lot of work to support the Japanese community in the Boston area. Learning Japanese in Japan would really facilitate relating and connecting to people on a daily basis, greatly improving my efforts at work. Professionally, it would increase the value I bring to any team or task at any job or industry, especially the one I’m in now. It would help me gauge candidates grasp of the Japanese language and inspire those who don’t have any to learn.
I work as a volunteer for a Japanese non-profit. Based in Boston, Binnovative is an organization whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation between New England and Japan. Studying abroad would provide me a refreshing new perspective for the projects at Binnovative. Having that cultural insight would help my ability to make an impact.
Academically I would be able to collaborate with students who speak Japanese, and even help those in need because of my communication skills (I already do this with my Portuguese). This program would not only teach me a language, but it would also enable new channels for learning.
The reason why I chose this CCIS program is because of the host school. KCP International Japanese Language School is located in the town of Shinjuku, known for the being the business, entertainment, and shopping center of Tokyo. The reason this program is so well regarded is because of how immersive it is. Aside from world-class teachers, and curriculum; students have easy access to historical landmarks and attractions that really enhance the learning experience and retention of the language.
The two biggest challenges that stand in my way of studying abroad are lack of money and the language itself. This program costs over $10,000 and so even if I receive funding from sponsors, there would be a lot of additional expenses that need to be accounted for. I live with my single mother who has put my brother and me through college. I am who I am today because of her support and encouragement. I told her that I would always strive to make the absolute most of the opportunities she has created for me through her sacrifices. Gilman provides scholarships only to those who truly deserve it. I want to let the decision makers know that should they sponsor me they can look at this project as an investment, because I guarantee my trip will yield great returns.
I currently speak English and Portuguese fluently and basic Spanish, so I have some range in phonetic pronunciation. However Japanese is a tough language in that it has very unique phonetics. Japanese is known for having a complex alphabet with three writing systems (kanji, hiragana, and katakana). As a programmer, I am familiar with the process of learning new languages. Although human languages and computer languages are different, the learning process for the two share many similarities. They both start with establishing the foundational basics and then require practice and repetition.
Although these challenges are formidable, I would gladly meet them not only because of what I would have to gain, but who I stand to become through the journey.