alanminlunwu

I am Proudly Generation Study Abroad

In Becoming ruminative in education on June 28, 2014 at 3:31 AM

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Coming fresh right off my study abroad experience in Japan which ended about a month ago, I was really pumped to see that MSU is now joining the national initiative, Generation Study Abroad, to expand study abroad participation.  For more information regarding MSU’s joining of the initiative, please click here to read more.

My 3 week stay in western Japan mainland was memorable in many ways and filled with pleasant surprises as I learned to adjust myself to the role of a tri-lingual program assistant responsible for coordinating assignment details and monitoring participants’ reactions to learning activities and perhaps more importantly tending to some participants’ roller-coasting emotions.  After all, when study abroad participants are not in the proper psyche, they won’t be able to fully avail themselves of the rare opportunity to interact meaningfully with the people/objects/environment from a different culture.  The overwhelming advantage for study abroad participants was that regardless of their triumph or frustration, they can really learn to develop mental toughness and ability to adapt while temporarily LIVING in that very culture.  The authenticity of being able to live in a foreign environment where everyone else seems quite different from you yet at times through constant communication and interaction, one could observe and sense similarities between him/herself and the otherness seems intriguing, at least to me.  In our study abroad program, our objective was to help the participants develop global competencies and awareness of multicultural education.  During the 3 weeks, I was able to witness and confirm that our MSU students changed for the better, each becoming a person who is more independent, ambiguity-tolerant, and more accepting to different ways of thinking and acting on situations.  It is my belief that the rapport built between these students from the USA and Japan will translate into lasting impressions potentially beneficial for shaping their identity as a young educator.

Serving as a 3-way translator in Chinese, English, and Japanese was challenging since I needed to navigate and code-switch between 3 language systems and all the while paying attention to pragmatics.  I enjoyed taking on the challenge and my colleagues commended me on my performance.  Effort-wise I still need to study more grammar and sentence structures to further improve my Japanese proficiency and hopefully I will have another opportunity to visit Japan sooner than later.

Once a long time ago I was a study abroad program participant in Tokyo Japan, and just last month I co-led a group of study abroad program  participants and visited different levels of schools in Matsue, Japan.  An interesting role reversal under my belt and now I think I am also proudly a member of generation study abroad.

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