Sunday, 24 July 2016

留学生ランチ (Ryugakusei Lunch)

Last Wednesday, us foreign students had a lunch meeting with the teachers. Despite the fact that I'm a fourth year student, this was actually my first meeting. Yes, I am that uninvolved :p In fact, if my teacher didn't put my name down, I probably wouldn't have gone.

I got to the room right on time and...

No one was there! 
So I ended up helping to get the bentos ready, get the tea ready, etc. The picture above is my 'handiwork'.


In the end, nearly everyone was late, so the teacher-in-charge didn't get to talk to us beforehand like she wanted. But at least we weren't late for the actual lunch itself. The lunch was about our opinions as foreign students and what could be improved.

To be honest, I'm probably the worst person to ask this. Like, I believe that one should adapt to the host country (when reasonable), not expect the host country to change to suit your needs. And that is why I don't really have a high opinion of the all-English language programmes.

Like, if you're here for a semester or two, then it's reasonable to have your lessons in English, but if you're planning to get your bachelor/master/doctorate here, then I really think that you should be studying in Japanese. Even if that means you have to take a language year.

Because for example, there's a scholarship (not MEXT) available, which has the aim of them understanding Japanese business culture by the end. So it includes a six month internship and stuff like that. But, Japanese ability is not compulsory. One of the students was saying that it was very hard for them to find jobs because they couldn't write/read/speak well, and I couldn't help thinking that the scholarship failed them. I mean, how are they supposed to understand the business mindset if they cannot communicate in the language everyone operates in? If they go to an English-speaking company, that does solve the problem, I don't know how representative of Japan and Japanese companies it's gonna be.

Not to mention the making friends stuff. One of the teachers was saying that Japanese ability should not be a factor in whether you can make Japanese friends, which to me is problematic. While I agree with the sentiment (that if you can try hard enough you can probably overcome barriers), I think that in real life, if you want to have deep conversations with people, you're gonna need to be fluent in the language (or they fluent in yours).

And on a more practical level, if you can't speak Japanese, then you can't take a lot of the regular classes. That reduces your opportunity to meet people and make friends. Most of the friends I have, I made in class. So if you can only take English classes (where there are very few Japanese), then it goes to reason that you won't meet as many Japanese, and hence may not have as many Japanese friends.

^And this is why I really shouldn't be giving my opinion. It's too depressing to others.

But I am very excited about the different programs that the econs department is going to introduce. I won't be able to take part in any, but it should be able to help the next batch of foreign students.