You don’t have to be a Japanese major to benefit from JCMU’s intensive language programs. As he writes below, Cyril Casapao, a 2014 JCMU alum and a graduate of the computer science program at Grand Valley State University, encourages students from all academic backgrounds to add intercultural experience to their resume by studying abroad!
What is your name, and what was your major at GVSU?
My name is Cyril Casapao, and I was a computer science major.
Which JCMU program and year did you participate in?
I went on JCMU’s Summer Intensive Language program in 2014.
How did you find out about this program while you were at GVSU?
I talked to my professors in the GVSU Japanese program about study abroad, and JCMU was one of the options they brought up.
What motivated you to study abroad at JCMU? Was it the location, the classes, or something else?
The timing and length of the program fit my schedule the best out of the available programs. The location in Hikone was also a big draw since most other study abroad options would bring me to large, bustling cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. Compared to other programs, JCMU seemed to offer the most unique experience. Additionally, the JCMU Consortium Scholarship and the fact that I could use my regular GVSU financial aid towards program costs convinced me that JCMU was the right choice.
How were classes in Hikone compared to classes at GVSU? Did you enjoy them?
The classes I took at JCMU were much more challenging but much more rewarding than any of the language courses I took at GVSU. They are NOT kidding when they say that it’s an intensive program. As a computer science major, I’d say the workload while at JCMU sometimes rivaled the workload of courses in my major.
What were some of your favorite things about your time at JCMU?
I loved living in Hikone. It’s a historic town right on the shore of Lake Biwa, so there were many beautiful sights to see. There were lots of festivals and events going on at all times, so you could really get a taste of authentic Japanese life. If you somehow get bored of that, there’s always Kyoto and Osaka within reach for an urban day trip.
Did your experiences abroad help you when you returned to GVSU?
My experience at JCMU helped me view things from a new perspective. Especially in this global day and age, it’s important to learn how to not just tolerate but to accept and celebrate other cultures.
What would you say to prospective students considering JCMU?
Just do it and don’t look back. It sounds like generic advice but seriously, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will change your life for the better. Once you graduate and start working a steady job, you’ll realize how many chances you may have missed in college. Please don’t let study abroad be one of those regrets.
We would like to thank Cyril for sharing his experiences with us, and we hope that his words encourage you to consider studying abroad yourself! For more information about Cyril’s program, please visit the Summer Intensive Language program page.