Remarkable improvement in Japanese language skills through small-group learning

Public Relations Office        August 28, 2014

TRACY BIAN (China), exchange student from Mount Allison University, Canada

TRACY BIAN

-What made you decide to study at KG?

I participated in a CCC (Cross-Cultural College) program at Mount Allison University (MTA). As part of the program, I visited KG in 2012 and became interested in studying there. When I was in Canada, I worked as a volunteer to support KG students studying at MTA, and befriended more than 300 KG students. I chose to study at KG because I wanted to see my friends again and learn more about Japanese culture.

-What kind of classes do you attend at KG?

I attend Japanese classes for international students. I also studied Japanese at MTA, but I was only able to learn hiragana, katakana and basic kanji during the year, and it wasn’t challenging enough. Here we can learn in small-group classes based on our proficiency levels, so we can improve our Japanese remarkably. All students in a class are at the same level, so we can improve our Japanese by learning from one another and encouraging one another to work hard. It’s an excellent learning environment.

-You are a good speaker of Japanese. What would you recommend how to learn a foreign language?

I’m Chinese, and I left China to study at a university in Canada. Now I speak Chinese, English and Japanese. It’s important for you not to give up when learning a language. There are no shortcuts. If you patiently keep learning basics such as words and phrases, you will feel your improvement at some point. That will give you confidence and make you feel more motivated to learn.

The Japanese garden.

-What are your favorite spots at KG?

The Japanese garden. There, I feel relaxed and refreshed after studying hard. I think KG is one of the most beautiful universities in the world, with its buildings in harmony with the surrounding nature on campus. I like taking pictures, and I take pictures of the campus during all four seasons. The view stretching from the main gate, across the central lawn and clock tower, all the way to Mount Kabuto is fantastic! But in fact, I like the view of the campus from the top of Mount Kabuto the best, and I cannot help but take pictures continuously of the campus from there.

-You also like eating places at KG, don’t you?

Yes. Cafeterias at my university in Canada always offer the same dishes, while those at KG offer a wide variety of dishes, such as Japanese, Western and Chinese dishes, so I simply cannot get tired of them. Now I’m hooked on Matsuya in the H Building. The Gyudon beef bowl is the greatest!

-Please boast about your own country.

Chinese food is delicious. I most recommend rolled omelet for breakfast. It looks just like tamagoyaki, and you can choose your favorite fillings. It has been long loved as a breakfast dish in China and it’s inexpensive. And Canada has a great natural environment and magnificent landscapes. The summer in Canada is especially comfortable with low humidity and moderate temperature. People in China and Canada are kind, so you’ll have no problems when you visit these countries.

-Finally, please tell us what your favorite Japanese word is.

My favorite Japanese word is kotoba (language). I’m excited when I think about why this word includes the kanji “葉 (leaf)” It’s a mysterious and interesting word that makes me think about the identity of the Japanese people. Languages have been used by all people since ancient times, but words can be interpreted differently by different people. Languages are evolving each day with the emergence of new words and fad words. I like languages because they have depth.