Don’t let the winter season scare you away from studying abroad in Japan! One of our longest programs, the spring semester Language & Culture program, runs through the winter and provides you with the extraordinary opportunity to learn an entire year’s worth of Japanese in just one semester. Oh, and you get to be in Japan during the cherry blossom season – an excellent benefit of going on JCMU’s spring program.
To show you what life on the spring semester program is like, we reached out to Tyrie Adams, an alum from Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and asked her about what her spring semester at JCMU was like.
What is your name, and what is/was your major at EMU?
My name is Tyrie Adams and I study Japanese Language & Culture and International Business with a focus in Management. I’ll be graduating this April!
Which JCMU program and year did you participate in?
I participated in the Spring/Winter 2013 semester intensive Japanese Language & Culture program.
How did you find out about this program while you were at EMU?
I found out about the program through professors, classmates, and our study abroad fairs.
What motivated you to study abroad at JCMU? Was it the location, the classes, or something else?
I wanted to study abroad at JCMU because I wanted an immersive experience to help build up my speaking abilities. In my opinion, JCMU is in a perfect location to test your skills. Shiga isn’t like Tokyo or Osaka in that there aren’t that many English speakers or tourists around to enable you to use English. Also, having classes taught completely in Japanese starting at level 1 really helps reinforce understanding.
How were classes in Hikone compared to classes at EMU? Did you enjoy them?
I really enjoyed my classes at JCMU. They offered a lot of opportunities to practice, so we all got the chance to learn together. Instead of waiting for someone to raise their hand, everyone got called on to practice. The best part was learning new grammar and vocabulary in the morning and then going out to use it that same day. That’s not something you can do at EMU unless you talk to a professor or have Japanese friends on campus.
What were some of your favorite things about your time at JCMU?
The things I enjoyed most about JCMU were the opportunities to interact with others. Studying used to be something I did alone. However, at JCMU I had the opportunity to sit down with professors and practice. I could go out into the community and find conversation partners everywhere. The most beneficial experience during my stay was my weekend homestay. Living with a Japanese family and having to interact with them using only Japanese really helped improve my skills. It was like a test without a grade (the best kind!).
Did your experiences abroad help you when you returned to EMU?
My experience helped me tremendously when I returned to EMU. I had so much more confidence when I came back. I wasn’t afraid to participate or ask questions. I didn’t have to second guess myself. JCMU made sure I had a strong foundation to continue to build my Japanese skills on.
What would you say to prospective students considering JCMU?
I highly recommend going to JCMU. You don’t need to be in a major city to experience Japan. There are plenty of opportunities to travel and experience the Japan you’ve seen in the media. JCMU is surrounded by a welcoming community with professors and staff willing and able to give you the best experience you could hope for.
We would like to thank Tyrie for sharing her experiences with us, and we hope this inspires future students to consider studying abroad in Hikone! For more information about Tyrie’s program, please visit the Semester Language & Culture program page.