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Jul 31, 2014
From Wednesday, June 4 through Friday, July 25, 2014, APU hosted students from one Thai, two Canadian, and twenty-one US institutions on the Summer Gateway program, an 8-week intensive Japanese language and culture study program. During the program, participants took part in a field trip to Nagasaki, a local school visit, a farm-stay, and cultural activities to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and society in addition to Japanese language. We spoke with three students about their experiences at APU.
The University of Maine
I can’t believe that two months ago I knew four words of Japanese and now I can hold a conversation. Even further than what I initially anticipated, I feel as though I have truly seen the “real” Japan throughout this program. The trip to Nagasaki was life changing. It puts a lot into perspective. The elementary school visit was so fun and really helps one to understand Japanese culture. It helps a lot to see the kind of childhood Japanese have. I think that the most enjoyable experience, though, was when we first went to an onsen with some of the “APU Buddies”. It was so strange at first but it is absolutely sensational once you can finally relax. Not only did it fast track all of our friendships, but it really showed how much the buddies genuinely wanted to be friends with us. It has been my experience that most people in Beppu truly want to get to know you and help you. Once I return to the United States, I intend on finishing my degree while also continuing to take Japanese classes. Once I graduate I hope to attend graduate school in Japan if my speaking is good enough or possibly skip straight to working in Japan.
Shawnee State University
What I enjoyed most about the program was meeting new people and using my Japanese. I have always loved Japanese culture and language since I was young. I came to APU because I knew that I would not be in a big city, which would force me to use my Japanese more often. I have been studying for 2 years by myself, and coming to APU allowed my Japanese to get better and better. My future plan is to graduate college and find a job in Japan at a software engineering company; I also want to come back for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
North Carolina State University
Studying at APU has been a great experience for me, and has definitely allowed me to practice my Japanese. One of the best aspects of the program is the nearly weekly events that are planned for the students to allow them to experience the culture. During the program, I particularly enjoyed talking to the Japanese students on my floor, and the experience of teaching and learning from each other. I intend to apply to the JET (The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) later this year, and teach English in Japan. I also intend to use the insight and experience I have gained on this program to improve the Japan Culture Club at my home university.
Related link: More information on the Summer Gateway Program