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Japanese Culture ISP

Brian Adie
Living in a foreign country for a month where you do not fully understand the language may seem daunting to most people, but Ash Sullivan was not scared to spend the last six weeks of her senior year in Japan. Ash has been taking Japanese for a few years and wanted to expand her knowledge of the language and Japanese culture. She made the conscious decision not to work on something based around her college major, given that she will be doing plenty of that over the next four years. Ash knew that the ISP program was the best way to visit Japan, as it would allow her to spend more time in a foreign country than if she was taking a trip on her own. Japan is a place that Ash always wanted to visit and with her knowledge of the language it was a great opportunity to experience the culture firsthand. Although Ash has been taking Japanese for a few years now, she is not proficient in the language but she hopes that living in Japan for a month will increase her skills with the language and create a solid foundation moving forward in her Japanese studies.

As with any travel, living in Japan has presented several challenges, mostly due to the language barrier as she becomes accustomed to speaking Japanese every day. So far her biggest challenge has been ordering food. While you might think would be an easy task, because she is not fluent  in the language ordering food and talking to a waiter or waitress can be difficult. She works around this roadblock by ordering food online or where she doesn't have to speak so she can read the menu but not have to face quite as many challenges when she is communicating her order.

Another problem that she has faced is that everyday appliances are vastly different in Japan than they are here, and with the instructions in Japanese she's finding it difficult to learn how to operate the machines. She tried using Google Translate to help her, but because it isn't perfect it sometimes created even more problems for her. But as she's beginning to become more and more fluent with the language, she is able to operate machines, order food, and communicate regularly on a daily basis in a more successful way. Ash’s experience in Japan is certainly a challenging one, but will also be a learning opportunity. As she becomes accustomed to everyday life in Japan, it will be easier to be able to communicate properly with a language completely different from her own.
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