Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 11 & 12 : My two first class days

Finally, my university semester in the Kyoto Sangyo University had begun !

This monday, my first course was a Japanese course named "Reading and Vocabulary", which means it is meant to be focused on our kanji writing and reading skills. The teacher was really nice and the class was quite interesting. Moreover, the fact that we are only four students in the upper beginner group was also a good thing. We did not do a lot of things though, since it was the first class and that the teached had to teach us how to learn and to study effectively.

The course I went to in the afternoon is called "Japanese Management". Contrarily to my first class on that day, it was taught integrally in English. When the class began, there was a lot of Japanese students in the room, which was quite surprising (stereotypes say Japanese people can't speak English... but stereotypes are not called "stereotypes" for nothing !).
The first thing the teacher said when he entered the room was "If you cannot understand English, raise your hand". Nobody answered. Then, when he asked "If you can understand English, raise your hand", less than the half of the students did so... He clearly did that to prevent Japanese people who were bad at English to take this class and be lost during all the semester ! The way he did that was quite funny, though it was a bit harsh... After that, the teacher introduced himself to the class, told us about the outlines of his course... and suddenly, a Japanese girl rose her hand and asked "can I give up this class ?" and left the room... followed by 4 other Japanese students. We were only 10 left in the class. According to the teacher, "This is the reality of education in Japan, people prefer to give up instead of being ashamed". It was a bit shocking to hear that, but right after saying that, he came back to his speech. Instead of working about the actual topic of the course, he asked us to work in "international" pairs (1 Japanese + 1 gaikokujin) and try to learn more about each other, just to get more confident with the English language and our classmates. Thanks to that, I was able to meet Shota, a 18 years old 1st year student who went to the UK during 7 months before going to Kyoto for his studies, hence his good English level. The last thing he asked us to do was to present out classmate in front of the class, th check if everybody was able to speak and understand English.

In the end, I've been quite satisfied of choosing Japanese Management (I had the choice between that or Japanese politics and government) thanks to the teacher, who seems to be really nice and smart despite his behaviour towards Japanese people who could not speak English. I'm looking forward to the other lessons !

On the next day, my first class was also a Japanese class, but this time, it was focused on grammar and it was taught by another person. As for the other courses, the teacher introduced her lesson, how to work effectively... but we also had the time to work a littlebit about how to introduce ourselves (which means : basic stuff). I was quite relieved at this moment, because I thought the Japanese classes would be quite hard for me, since there is no lower beginner level. In the end, I felt pretty confident.

After lunch, we ran to find the right building for the next class, and finally arrived just on time for the Japanese Culture course, one of the 4 courses taught in English I have chosen for this semester. The course is focused on the history of Kyoto as the former capital city of Japan, and its most famous buildings that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Even if said like that, it can look quite interesting, the fact is that... it ended up being quite boring ! The teacher is actually a touristic guide, which is probably the reason why her class was more like a storytelling one man show than a "real" course. I've got nothign else to say about it, apart from the fact that I hope the next classes will be more lively !

And to finish, the last course of the day was called "Japanese Technology focused on Sustainable development". When I chose this class, I thought it would be about Japan's relation with nuclear energy, or how to deal with an aging population, with energetic problems... but I was wrong. The course seems to be just like an overall presentation of sustainable development and the different actions one can do to avoid endangering the planet's health. As you may have understood, I have also been quite disappointed with this class... Even if it's still going to be a good opportunity to talk in English and to listen to the different points of view of the other students about this global phenomenon.

Voilà !

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