by
on January 21, 2019 on 1/21/19 from ,

My First Week: The Importance of Communication

hihi! so welcome to my blog. Where I will be taking you along with me in my adventures abroad in OSAKA, JAPAN! 

So, a little bit about me. I was born and raised in Queens, NY and am currently studying film, video, and photography. I love screenwriting, directing, and shooting films. I’m also into portrait 35mm film photography. 

It has now been my first week in Osaka. I’m taking Japanese language courses and later in the Spring I will be taking glassblowing and printmaking. All very exciting things, not to mention its my first time ever being in Japan. 

So my week started off with the orientation, where I met everyone else in the program.  We also met our Japanese roommates who are locals of Osaka and are also students of the college we’re attending. They are “partners” who help us navigate Japan and support us through our journey. 

In the first couple of days, the severity of my lack of conversational Japanese really hit me… Coming into this I was aware that my Japanese was not the greatest, but over dinner, it became clear to me the extent of how hard it is for me to converse. As someone that values communication over everything, I began to feel stuck and very, very lost. Simple things such as explaining my major of study at school was difficult to get across as I franticly google searched and repeated in verbatim what my google translate said. It became clear to me the meaning of lost in translation. 

Not to mention, a requirement of my program is the language pledge. The language pledge states that after you take the pledge, you may not speak any more English, it’s only Japanese from then on. They even gave us a button to wear that says so. So on the fourth day of arrival, we had the language pledge ceremony, and once pledged, I pretty much said nothing for the rest of the day. I’ve been having feelings of regret of not studying more Japanese before I came. A sense of existential dread started to settle in.

My program coordinator showed us this photo during orientation that I think is very relatable. 

I was definitely in the “disorientation” stage. However, now I would say I’m approaching the “acceptance of reality” stage. 

After a few days of adjusting, being in class, and getting support from my friends in the program and from home, I’m regaining my positivity in what is to come. A big piece of advice is that in order to grow, a vital part of the process is feeling discomfort. I knew that living and studying in a new country was going to be difficult, similar to the adjustment of starting college, but not having the means to communicate was and still is a concept that is so abstract and new to me right now. However, as days go by, I find myself picking up more and more each day. I’m starting to push myself more in my assignments and in class. I see why the language pledge is so important, without it, I don’t think I would truly be as motivated to learn as much Japanese as I can.

Despite it all, I reassure myself of why I chose to study abroad whenever I’m out and exploring the city. Osaka is an amazing city with so much to offer. Even shopping at the convenience stores brings me so much joy. Osaka is known as “Japan’s kitchen” because of its rich culture of food. I’ve indeed been eating so sooo swell.  

I hope I can get some film developed this week to show ya’ll! Next post I’ll talk about some cool spots so far :) 

Until next time, 

Caroline xx