Public Relations Office March 21, 2013
Gant Austin, Nebraska Wesleyan University (United States)
Japan and East Asia Studies Program Winter Intensive Program
Going into the Winter Intensive, I didn't really know what to expect. I've had honors and “intensive” classes before, but I'd never had to match a pace like the Winter Intensive required. I was very worried, and covering an entire level of Japanese study in a month was incredibly intimidating. But, at the same time, I was excited for the challenge it presented, the breakneck pace it required me to match. And on all counts, I was not disappointed.
The Winter Intensive Semester at KGU was a trying experience, a test for the student's ability to handle a fast paced and exacting course schedule. It was one of my most rewarding studying experiences. Being able to focus solely on Japanese for extended periods of the school day, which at first seemed tiring, turned out to be the greatest boon of the Winter Semester. Having no other academic distractions, so to speak, allowed for all of the student's focus to be on improving their Japanese. The homework load was slightly daunting, as expected of any fast paced intensive course, but having studied at KGU for one semester before the Winter Intensive had me prepared for such a workload.
Most importantly, the professors were able to really focus and help the students improve greatly in this small window of time. Being in a classroom with the same professor for hours of the day helped all of the students get a feel for what their own Japanese was lacking, and the professor could give much more attention to each individual than in normal semesters. Because of this, I really feel like my Japanese has improved significantly over the Semester, enough so that I am confident to go from Level 2 in the fall to Level 4 Japanese in the spring.
The prolonged time spent with the Japanese professors during the semester was a huge part of what made my personal time in it a success. I felt much closer to the teachers of these classes, despite the short length of the semester, and had much more helpful criticism on my abilities as a student and my Japanese from them because of this bond. Teachers that get a chance to really know their students always have the best feedback, suited specifically for the students that need it. If it were at all possible, I would prefer for all my semesters spent here at KGU to be similar to the Winter Intensive, so that my academic Japanese could increase exponentially along with the normal Japanese I use everyday.
Evelyn Susanto, Satya Wacana Christian University (Indonesia)
Coffee hour, an event for tightening the relationship between Japanese students, exchange students and teachers, is held 3 times in each semester in Kwansei Gakuin University. In the last Fall Semester 2009/2010, this event was held in October, November, and December. This coffee hour event is opened for all students. The October one was held in Uegahara campus. It was opened by self introducing of each participant from the exchange students. In this special occasion, we chatted to each other while enjoying some snacks and drinks prepared by CIEC staff. The second event was held in November in Sanda campus. Students who wanted to join in this occasion,, would leave together from Uegahara campus by the university bus. What we did in Sanda campus was almost the same as the one in Uegahara, but there was a bit difference, that was a dance performance by Sanda campus’ students. The last event on last semester was held in December in Uegahara campus. As usual, in every coffee hour event, there will be a performance from the students. For the ones who want to show their talents in music or dance, they can participate in this occasion.
Personally, I like Coffee Hour event. From here, I can make new friends especially Japanese students. I think it is a good opportunity both for exchange students and Japanese students to get to know each other and share many ideas. At first, I only made friends with the exchange students especially while we were having the same school activities. But after I joined this coffee hour event, I can make more friends with Japanese students too. Now, I get many Japanese friends from this “coffee hour” and I am very happy. So in my opinion, this event is like a way for building a relationship between Japanese students and the exchange students and knowing the Japanese culture. Take for example, in the last December’s coffee hour in Uegahara campus, there were some Japanese students who served Japanese macha. Macha is Japanese tea which is usually used in Japanese tea ceremony.
Coffee hour event is like a small international gathering party for me. There is always lots of fun and happiness in every coffee hour event. I will always be excited in coming to this special event.