Published on February 19, 2014
The Study Abroad Life in Japan C.Holbrook Katsucon 2/14/2014
QUESTIONS What if I get homesick? Is there financial aid? What programs are there? How would I pay? I want to study short-term. What are the requirements? When can I go? I don’t speak Japanese. What if I make a cultural blunder? Can I stay longer than a few months?
Everyone faces these questions. Ask! School. Advisors. Parents. Forums. Blogs. Programs.
GAIJIN Or ‘gaikokujin’, literally meaning “foreign country person”. Commonly shortened to “outside person” or outsider. What do I do?
3 Types of Foreign Students (in Japan) 1.Fully Immersed 1.True ‘Gaijin’ 1.Cluster Student
Feeling like an Outsider OTHERNESS History of rigorous isolation policies Homogeneous culture Cross- Cultural Communications Interacting with other cultures!
Developing Self Awareness Deep Beliefs and Basic Assumptions Values, Opinions, Judgments Actions and Behavior Culture shapes how you behave and how you perceive the world.
These are perceptions or even What stereotypes are there misperceptions? about Japan? Where did we learn them?
What are some good things to learn about Japan before study abroad? 1. CULTURE • Geography, history, religion, economy, class structure, education • Beliefs, values, ethics • Language, communication (verbal and non-verbal), social behavior 2. Specs of Study Abroad • • • • • • Eligibility, age/education level Schools, study abroad programs Funding, scholarships Language requirements (Japanese or English) Transportation, tourism What to bring, pre-departure preparation
CULTURE Nine Factors of Culture: • Religion • Language • Education • Economics • Politics • Family • Class structure • History • Geography Create & Reinforce Group Culture Variables of Culture: • Environment • Time • Action • Communication • Space • Power • Personal Behavior • Social Behavior • Structure • Thinking Creates Diversity Between Cultures
Geography • • • • • Slightly smaller than California 4 major islands 4,000 smaller islands 47 prefectures Natural disasters: tsunami, floods, earthquakes
CLIMATE • Varies from subarctic to subtropics • Region seasonal variation Winter: • Central & Northern Japan snow • Southern Japan warm Rainey season in June with hot, humid weather in July.
Japan Facts + Society Key Values in Japanese Society • Harmony and cooperation are taught at early age • Complex dynamics of etiquette and politeness • Public behavior includes not being brash, abrasive, overly direct, or causing embarrassment • Non-verbal communication must be interpreted • Conscious of social hierarchy to build relationships
HISTORY Founding of Japan (before 710) • • • • Amaterasu, sun goddess sent ancestor to Kyushu Unified court in Nara Shintoism: nature, ancestors, ancient/national legends 6th-7th centuries: Buddhism and Confucianism political reform Nara Period (710-784) • • • • Permanent court and capital in Nara Buddhism and government flourished Painting, sculpture, lacquerware Imperial family emerged Heian Period (794-1185) • Moved capital to Kyoto • Poetry and literature Tale of Genji • Aristocrats, wars, clans
Kamakura Period (1185-1333) • Genji clan victorious samurai, bakufu, shogun Muromachi + Momoyama Periods (1336-1598) • New shogun with Daimyo (Lords) • Extravagant life and architecture • Civil wars and class struggle Edo Period (1603-1868) • • • • Tokugawa and new Bakufu (government) Isolation policies Farmers, artisans, merchants, and samurai Writing and literacy Meiji Period (1868-1912) • Open Doors, Westernization • Nationalism, Tokyo capital
Daily Life + Holidays
Transportation Buying a Pasmo or Suica pass! • Works on buses & trains • Reloadable
Etiquette Train Manners: • Not loud • Not taking up too much space • Try to stand • Avoiding confrontations Bowing/Greeting: • Degrees of bowing PRACTICE!!
Bathing Manners Read signs! Some places don’t allow tattoos
Where do you rest your chopsticks?
Communication + Social Behavior
High Context vs. Low Context Japan U.S. Many things left unsaid More explicit communication May have to interpret word choice or actions More openly expressive Direct Informal Individualistic Indirect Formal Collectivistic
Out Group honored Uchi + Soto In Group humbled
Honne + Tatemae Facade True Feelings
Tatemae Elements Personal dignity Non-confrontational Not saying “no” (indirect rejection) No open criticism, singling out, or insulting Reserved, inwards actions
Non-Verbal Communication OK No Good
Non-Verbal Communication • Facial expression • Gestures • Tone of voice • Posture
Counting with fingers! How do you do it?
Building Relationships • Social hierarchy from Confucianism influence • Very conscious of age & status Let’s list some relationships! Senpai/Kouhai Starting out: • Respectful of privacy don’t dig for information • Punctuality
大丈夫！！ It’s OK! It’s difficult to know every detail about culture/society. Mistakes are allowed, just be very respectful. People will try to help you, but may be embarrassed. They don’t have a full understanding of your culture either or may not speak English well.
Cross-Cultural Encounter EXERCISE . Specs of Study Abroad • • Transportation, tourism What to bring, pre-departure preparation
Justin has begun to settle into his new university in Japan, although he still encounters confusing or frustrating incidents. On Mondays Justin was always very busy. He had classes all day and hardly had any time for lunch. One day he showed up at his seminar class a couple minutes before it started and told one of his classmates, Takako, that he was really busy all morning and didn't have time for lunch. Takako replied that she herself was also hungry. The professor came into the classroom. Justin opened his backpack and took out a small bag of potato chips offering them to Takako. She quietly whispered ‘thank you’, and refused the food. Justin then started eating them in class. Takako was very surprised and embarrassed, while others looked on in bewilderment.
Specifications of Study Abroad
Are You Eligible? Find a program that caters to your education level High school, undergraduate, graduate, advanced degree! Your school can help you find the right program!
Language Requirements Check if there is a language requirement for the program May need specific Japanese or English level Other requirements • • • Essay writing Volunteering Extracurricular
How do I find a study abroad program??
Places to Start Looking Student Resources for Study Abroad JASSO Japan Study Support Study in Japan Global 30 The Japan Times Gateway to Study in Japan MEXT Japanese Organizations Japan Society (NY) US-Japan Council The Japan-America Society The Japan Foundation US-Japan Research Institute Ask Your School Study Abroad Partners Exchange Programs
Points to Consider when Choosing Universities 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Contents of curriculum and lectures Degree or non-degree program Research facilities International student support system Accommodation Exams for admission School fees + Scholarship and financial aid Local environment
Admissions Timeline April-June Plan, gather info, request info Select school & apply July-October EJU application: Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (if necessary) November-January Take EJU exam January-March Immigration procedures Flight reservation Preparations Admission Procedures April Admission into institution
Funding Japanese Govt Scholarhsips (Monbukagakusho, MEXT) JASSO Scholarships Scholarships by Local Govt & Local International Associations Scholarships by Private Foundations Scholarships for International Students Living Abroad
Pre-Departure Preparations • Plan your transportation • Know the areas you will spend • • • • • time in Find interesting facts, events, or tourism spots to visit What’s the weather like? Are there products or medicines you need to bring with you? Plan you expenses Make the most of your time abroad!
It’s a good time to go! Asian Gateway Initiative (2008) – high quality foreign student selection Global 30 Initiative – 300K foreign students by 2020 (30 international schools) Companies recruit/hire overseas • Promoting STEM • Government funding to 100 universities to develop English programs
How can you further prepare? Look for volunteer opportunities with local organizations Take language classes or cultural workshops Read books on culture Read Japanese news articles
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