David Michael Hudson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill（USA）
Public Relations Office
Why did you choose to study at KGU?
I really liked what I had heard about the Kansai region. I heard that the people here were the friendliest and warmest. I haven’t left Kansai yet, so I don’t have a basis for comparison, but from what I’ve seen, they’ve all been really nice people.
Is this your first time coming to Japan?
Yes. It’s my first time leaving America.
How long had you studied Japanese before you came?
I studied on my own for maybe four or five years, but didn’t start studying intensely before I went to UNC for three semesters.
Are you staying with a host family?
How has that been?
It’s been excellent, definitely one of the most memorable parts. I spend a lot of my free time with them, with my host family. I have three host siblings, a 20-year old brother, a 17-year old brother and a 10-year old sister.
Do you speak all Japanese at home?
I’d say 85% Japanese, 15% English. My host mother’s English is pretty good, and she could certainly get by in a Western country. My middle brother speaks English well, too. He’s on vacation from studying abroad in Australia.
On KGU Student Life
How have you found the classes? What level did you place into?
I was placed into Level 2 (CEFR A2/JLPT N4). It’s been challenging. The book we used at UNC was different, we used Genki. There’s a little bit where the coverage didn’t overlap, so I’m missing a bit of the grammar that we didn’t cover there, but overall, I love the teachers. They’ve been excellent. Super patient, super helpful, and super enthusiastic about answering questions and helping the students understand.
Are you taking any non-language classes?
I’m taking a history class, but other than that, exclusively Japanese language classes.
Where do you tend to spend your time on campus?
I’m in the library quite a bit. Sometimes I go to Big Mama, and occasionally I go to the Global Lounge. I go there once a week to hang out with my Nihongo Partners.
Have you been meeting with them consistently?
Yes, we’ve actually hung out outside of university as well.
Have you participated in any international student events?
Yes, I hosted two English Hours through the Student Lounge. In my own time, I ended up telling those students that they could come meet me on campus once a week to just chat for a lunch period. We’ve done that three or four times now.
Future Aspirations and Advice for Prospective Students
What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in studying at KG?
I would tell people to take what the teachers say about the placement exam very seriously. Some people guessed at answers and ended up getting placed too high, and ended up not understanding what was going on in their classes because the material was too difficult. Other than that, I would say to balance out what classes you’re taking, to ensure you get a mix of speaking, reading and writing. I definitely feel that has helped to round out my Japanese.
Do you feel there was a specific weakness you were able to address by coming here?
I don’t know if it was my coming to Japan, my reading class or a mix of both, but now I take my kanji more seriously. It’s gone from something that was onerous to more enjoyable. Part of it was cultivating an interest in Japanese reading material, like light novels, that I’d like to read.
Could you talk a bit about how student life at KGU differs from that of student life at UNC?
It seems like people eat a lot of convenience store food here. People are extremely active in sports and clubs here, which you don’t see much of in the States, which is something I really like about Japan. I wish I had more time to experience that aspect, since I’m in the judo club at UNC.
After you finish the program, how will you leverage the skills and experiences you’ve acquired here and apply them towards your future goals?
I think my education here, and just using Japanese in daily life, is going to put me closer to being able to take the JLPT. I’m shooting for the N3 by the end of this year. I’d like to eventually keep working and come back here, then get a job where I’m speaking Japanese full-time and springboard to a career in Japan.
Finally, what’s your favorite Japanese phrase or expression?
“Shoganai” (it can’t be helped). It’s useful as an everyday phrase, like, “I forgot my umbrella, shoganai,” but it also tells you about the mindset Japanese people have. Persevere, and if you can’t change, then there’s no use getting hung up on it. I’m trying to work on that.
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