Well, looks like classes will begin soon for universities in Japan. Today, I will give a short course review on the classes I took during my spring semester abroad at Chukyo University. I wrote a similar post back in the month of December, which is at this little link -> <Previous Chukyo Classes>. For any students interested, go check the link out! I will only be posting about the non-Japanese language courses, so let’s get started!
Media Literacy II
Here in this class we were given an opportunity to take control of what we believe and do something about it. The first part of the class was focused on finding fallacies within news articles and finding ways which we can make a better impact upon the public based upon facts rather than assumptions. There were a few classes where my emotions got the better of me, but we must be aware of the situations which we cannot control. This semester’s final project topic was raising awareness about a worldwide problem. We had to create a video either by ourselves or in a group. Topics such as suicide, hunger, bullying, and drugs were some examples other students presented. I wanted to do something which hit home, not saying the other topics are to be pushed underneath th drug, but personally I cannot work on a project which I truly did not care so much about. Harsh sounding, but we all have our own preferences. Since I was in Japan, a collectivist society, and was raised upon ‘living a life not my own’, I decided to do my project based upon social pressure. Job hunting, which is also a big deal in many areas around the world, hits Japan,in my opinion, harder than others. Below is a video created by art students in Japan about the situation:
This is not something I would ever want for my friends or anyone else. A life where you are doing something for the sake of just doing things, where is the happiness in this? Anyway, because of this class, I became more aware of the lives which some people live. You cannot blame someone for his or her actions which were based entirely upon a ‘way of life’. Not everyone has the same abilities nor do they have the same thoughts, ethics or morals. However, I still wanted to just put something out there which would not change someone, but simply as an inspirational video. Below is my project on social pressure:
Theory of Economics
Personally, this was on the hardest class because the entire lecture was in Japanese, with a little English on the PowerPoints. Though, I do highly recommend this class for future business majors who have a high Japanese language proficiency. The teacher helped us with things we did not understand and was completely aware of the language barrier. The class itself had about one hundred students, which was quite larger than most classes I have taken in Japan. We learned about the economic growth theory, GDP, Cobb Douglas, and much more. I had not taken any economic classes since my first year in college, so my terminology and equations skills were quite below the average of the entire class. Nevertheless, I found things interesting as we discussed the business path which Japan was heard towards.
Well, I told myself I would not take another class in Toyota again, but here I was on the bus at 9AM to take a random class which I had no clue about. Boy, was I in for a surprise and a wonderful outcome. Carl Stone, the professor, is a truly a talented and interesting person. I walked into class not knowing a thing and came out gaining a new skill. In this class, there was a teacher who spoke in English and another teacher who was the translator for the Japanese students. We were taught the basics of sound production and even did a group collaboration project. This project included each student to make his or her own music which had to last five minutes. Various jobs were given out such as: master auditing, line and jacket design, poster design, marketing team, and production team. I and another student were in charge of line and jacket design. Below are the designs and a link to sample music:
In the end, everyone’s efforts were put forth to create and sell cd’s which contained our own music. For those interested in trying something new, I highly recommend signing up for this class. Perhaps signing up for two classes for the Toyota campus would make you feel like the trip is worth it. Also, there was another class which I recommend. Professor Yoshiro Miyata teaches a class where he combines the world of computer science and international relations. Last semester, his project included the aid of other countries around the world and a computer program named, SCRATCH. I wish I had known about this class, because when I spoke with him at Chukyo’s Open Campus day I was truly amazed by his accomplishments. Below are course descriptions for four of his classes:
Who doesn’t like a little exercise in college? Okay, maybe me but still I am so glad I took this class. Well, not right before Japanese class because every Wednesday was quite the exhausting one. However, I did get my weekly running and Japanese all in one. Plus, you get to communicate with others using the Japanese you have been learning (or not learning) in class.
Intercultural Communication II
Now, this is a class which I thoroughly enjoyed. The teacher was amazing and is a person with so much knowledge and love for her students. There were three other exchange students along with myself, and our eyes were opened to the thoughts and opinions of the Japanese students in various topics such as: individualism, collectivism, ethnocentrism, discrimination, empathy, and proper communication. The goal of this was realizing our cultural differences and learning how to deal with others without being judgmental. I must say, I did expect for this class to be a stepping point into my future fall classes at UT-Chattanooga. I gained a few friends from this class and an even greater respect to those who broke free from the collective mindset of being scared of what society had to say about individualism.
Unlike my classes in America, I had the opportunity to speak more openly about my thoughts in class. With the exception of one or two, many of the Japanese students would sit back and not a say a word. Why is this? Well, I believe collectivism is part of this phenomenon. When no one speaks in class, the others follow the example; however, when a foreigner speaks, no one still speaks. This is because an outsider is giving his or her opinion, not one of their ‘own’. Perhaps this is just my own speculation, but there are also other factors like a language barrier. Sure, when someone of a native tongue speaks, your confidence level is lowered and you become embarrassed of saying something wrong. But you must remember not speaking at all will only lower your skills even more. I purposely took a few more classes taught in English this semester to learn the opinions of others when it came to social issues. Boy was I given much more. Because of this semester, I spent more time in the World English Department and spoke with many of the teachers on his or her thoughts on class and other topics. These times were truly amazing and I am so glad to have met each one of them, this includes the students who continued speaking to me, despite my awkward nature. Thank you for the wonderful knowledge and experiences!
Until next time~