Active Listening and Introversion Abroad






Kyoto Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)

So I’ve just started my classes at an art university in Osaka, taking glassblowing and printmaking, both classes that are far from my major, film and video. However, if there is anything I’ve learned from my first three months of being in Japan and learning a completely new language and living in a completely new place, is that changes and challenges will promote growth like no other. I think in particular, I’m becoming more cognizant to how I react when faced with challenge. There are times when I stay strong and push through, but honestly more often than not, my immediate reaction will be frustration. Something that been helpful for me is then think about how I wish I would feel about it. What do I want my initial reaction to be? Like what would my higher self/evolved self do? I often wish I could stay more positive and not let the small things get to me. I believe being able to acknowledge these sides of challenges are helping me grow into a more accountable, and mindful person. 

I also believe that being abroad has helped me become a more social and open-minded person. I feel like I’ve always been quite of an introverted person. Not there is anything wrong with being introverted but I often wish I was more outgoing and could easily be comfortable with expressing myself with new people. Or even just be more present in conversations. Since being here, an incredibly important part of learning Japanese is active listening. This is such a vital part in language learning to hear the pronunciation, intonation, all of that good stuff, I honestly attribute my language progression from being surrounded by native Japanese speakers, I feel like its a cheat code lol or maybe just a hot tip. I don’t think my Japanese would have progressed so much, if I was only taking a class back in the states. I pick up on so many new words and expressions from listening to everything around me. 

I find that active listening in conversations calms the voice in my head sometimes, the voice thats sprinting around trying to think of what to say or talk about next, when often it is so much more important to take in what the person is talking about. Not only in my own conversations, but also listening to the conversations around me to catch onto how people respond and interact with each other in small ways. 

So now starting classes at the art school, I really want to talk to and befriend my new classmates! I’m trying to utilize the things that I’ve learned the past few months to motivate myself to not be as shy. What I’m trying to focus on is to be confident in myself and to stay genuine. 

Our Kyoto lodgings.