Written by Joshua Linkous, (Student Correspondent) University of Pennsylvania
CET Intensive Japanese Language & Culture Studies in Osaka, Summer 2015
Studying abroad was something that I had been planning for several years now. As a major in Japanese History studies, I hold the belief that, in order to truly understand what I am studying, becoming both intimate with the language and the culture is of paramount concern. Thus, the decision on where to study was not taken lightly and I thoroughly evaluated a myriad of programs that I felt would best push me toward my goal of intimacy. Out of all the programs evaluated, I chose CET in Osaka.
While I have never been to Osaka, I have been to Japan before. Albeit, I only went to Tokyo, but the experience was so exceptional that it was difficult to not choose a program there. However, despite this urge, I prioritized my goals and settled on CET for the summer. CET was appealing to me because of its small class sizes, its rigor, its intensity, the language pledge, and the required Japanese roommate, among other things. At my university, I feel like I do not have enough time to practice or devote myself to my Japanese language studies. The classes are typically too big, too short, or not frequent enough. On top of this, the sheer amount of work from my other courses makes it even more difficult to divide my attention in a way that I deem satisfying. Outside of class, my environment does not lend itself to the practice of Japanese either, making it more difficult to bridge the gap between Japanese as a living, functional language and Japanese as something I study.
CET was the antidote to these issues, offering me the opportunity for prolonged practice and immersion. Relative to my university, doing an entire textbook in one semester is a large jump in terms of intensity. However, despite this intense pace, it seemed to me that the extended and frequent class sessions would mean a greater familiarity with the material that I wasn’t getting at my home institution. Still, more important than class matters, I also wanted a place where I could utilize Japanese in a practical sense. I felt that CET seemed like a place that would force me out of my comfort zone by enforcing the strict language pledge and ensuring that I had to use Japanese outside of the classroom by giving me a Japanese roommate. I will admit that the thought of this made me quite nervous, as most people tend to be when pushed outside of their comfort zones. However, looking toward the future, I considered it to be worth the anxiety, as it is the only way to come to be truly comfortable with the language. While I may be studying a foreign language, my goal is such that it becomes far less foreign. I am highly optimistic that CET is the program that will help me achieve this goal.