Classes so far…
Of course, one of the main reasons I came to Japan was also to study!
I’m taking 17 credits here, which really doesn’t seem like a lot, but amounts to about 8 classes over here! Most classes meet once a week, for 90 minutes. I knew about this prior to coming here from my Japanese friends, but it’s actually a lot harder to adjust than I thought it would be… In reality, I think adjusting to classes was one of the more harder things for me to adjust to…!
I was placed into Japanese 2, which was where I wanted to be. We picked up right where I left off in the States in our Genki textbook, and moved onto the second book of the series. I have three teachers for Japanese, who alter everyday. I thought it would be troubling, but there’s a really smooth flow everyday! There’s a bigger language barrier here than there is in the States (obviously), but my classmates and I are able to pick up on everything quickly (or if not, we help each other out!). It’s really enjoyable, and so far I’ve aced every single quiz! Can’t really say that about our first big quiz though… One of the most trouble aspects for me is that I unintentionally reply in short/casual form to my professors. Back in the States, I would avoid using short form as much as possible since we had first learned it and I just could barely grasp using it quickly. Here, I use short form a lot at home with my host mum, so it just carries over into class…
Besides Japanese… many classes were more or less of a letdown. There are several classes I’m taking that are some of the best, but the majority seem to be pretty… subpar… One professor even completely changed the syllabus on us when more than half the class dropped out…!! It seemed like she was blaming us for the change too, saying how she couldn’t stick to her original syllabus since she had planned it to work only if she had the original amount of students who signed up… A certain political class I was looking forward to the most seems like a reiteration of my Intro to International Politics class, sans focus and important information/views of each political theory…
But no more of that negativity!
A class that I didn’t anticipate taking was Japanese encounter with Christianity. It overlaps a bit with my history class, but goes way more into detail about Japan’s history with Christianity. I’m not very interested in religion, so I thought it wouldn’t be a good class to take. I decided to take it since I decided to drop another class with the previous professor, and still needed credit. Something I’ll never forget is when I came into this class for the first time and the professor handed out questionnaires to the students who just entered the class and told us “Please be honest about why you’re here. If you’re here because (so-and-so) class was terrible and you needed the credit, just write that. I know that feeling.” It was probably the first thing that made me decide that this class was probably going to be the best.
The professor is really what makes this class as amazing as it is. He’s bright and hilarious. Just by looking at him, you can tell his passion about the subject, which really makes the class a whole lot easier to sit through. He makes us laugh and is honest about a lot of the things he has to deal with. He feels more like a friend and makes the whole atmosphere very comfortable. When we finally started class, we started off learning about Christian theology, since many of us don’t have a background in it. It ended up being a lot more interesting than I thought it would be! Even though it’s the latest class I have, it’s something I always look forward to.
All in all, I do miss my classes at New Paltz. Mostly, I just can’t sit 90 minutes straight through a class. Around the 40 minute mark I always end up looking at the clock…! I honestly thought once a week classes would be better and easier, but now I know I definitely would much rather prefer 40 minute classes that meet several times a week.
There are some classes that I continue to go to because I simply need the credit, but then there are also some that are genuinely engaging and that I definitely take something from every time I leave.