While learning about Japanese culture, we were told that a lot of company executives earn their role because it was passed down to them from another generation, rather than earned like it generally is in America. My first thought when hearing this was "how could that possibly work? How could a company succeed?" But it sure did work! Some of the most prestigious and well-known companies that we visited were on their 3rd or 4th generation in the family.
Going to Japan has taught me that Japan is a collective society. This means that the Japanese achieve success or failure collectively, which is very team focused. During the stay I learned that following all of the rules is very important to a collective society. In Japan I noticed that the people are very patient to follow every rule. This has helped me gain perspective on the reason we have rules.
Japanese automotive companies are known for having the best quality. Toyota has been #1 automotive company for many years. I did not expect this idea of quality to carry over into basically every aspect of Japanese culture. From Shinshindo baked goods to Fujitec elevators and escalators to KRT's inspections, quality is definitely engraved in the culture, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
This program is definitely a one in a life time experience and the people I've met during the duration of the program is unforgettable. The things I learned in class or at the medical facilities is something I can never learn by book, but only in Japan. I wouldn't have changed it for anything else.
. The encouragement and motivation I received regarding my speaking abilities while conversing with native speakers outside of class was rewarding, but even more so was the realization that I was forging real cross-cultural connections while doing so.
I now have better understanding and insight about Japanese culture that many other US international law students can only dream of.
Communicating with Japanese people on a daily basis strongly influenced my thinking. In the US, there is a high degree of diversity among citizens that I previously failed to fully appreciate.
Everyday, I would live a very typical Japanese lifestyle. I would usually have rice and fish for breakfast, commute by bike and train to school, converse with my peers in Japanese and commute back home for dinner with my family. From this experience, I learned everything there was to know from my peers and my host family.
This free-time was super important because it really put the learning in the hands of us, the students. In college, we're growing into adults, and traveling abroad really gave us a chance to practice being independent and explore the world for ourselves.
Because of the students' kindness and patience and I feel like I was able to connect to an element of Japanese culture that would have been invisible to me if I were to have come to Japan as a simple tourist.
Traveling to Japan and learning how to interact in their business atmosphere has prepared me for doing business in Japan. I learned how to figure out the use of body language, key business terms, and personal relationships in Japan.
My time abroad also showed me that cultural barriers can always be overcome when communicating with all kind of people.
Some of the places we visited included Tokyo Disneyland, the Grand National Sumo Tournament, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and Tsukiji Fish Market (largest wholesale seafood market in the world!). My favorite was the sumo tournament because of how engaged and enthusiastic the spectators were. Most Japanese are very conservative and reserved but they didnâ
The most valuable part of the experience was conversing with our fellow students after presentations were finished. We were able to ask them what they thought of Americans, how they viewed the world, and what their academic experiences had been.
Interacting with a different culture was enlightening and helped me open my mind to new things. I tried new foods like octopus and eel, foods that I would never normally eat and are not readily available in the United States. I saw lush hilltops, bustling cities, and even the great Mt. Fuji. The new tastes, sights, smells, and sounds were remarkable and helped me grow as an individual.
I pushed myself to new limits to adjust to living in a foreign country and explored unfamiliar paths. It was exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time.
The study abroad program offered through Michigan State is phenomenal. We visited three Universities and I had the honor of presenting on a telecommunications topic to a class of Japanese college students.
This study abroad was a perfect match for me. I was excited to go back to Japan a second time and to learn more of what I once loved to learn.
Of course I had ideas and knowledge going in, but my expectations were highly exceeded. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also caught a glimpse of what it might mean to live in another country.
While I was travelling throughout Japan, I was able to speak and practice Japanese so much more than if I had stayed in America to study Japanese, where there is not as much opportunity to communicate with Japanese students.
I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this study abroad program and would recommend that all students plan to study abroad for two weeks, a month, a semester or longer to gain greater global awareness.
After asking around for the right way to go, I was off on my way. I was rolling my luggage to my station, but I fell into a little situation, stairs. There were so many stairways in front of me in order to reach my destination. I have learned in Japanese society, quiet is the respectful way to be. That means, I had to carry each luggage down and up the stairs without banging it against anything. Must I say more? Definitely was a challenge.
Being in Japan gave me another insight to an important business aspect: working with people of different cultures. We saw how these people lived and how the day-to-day activities differed from our own lifestyles.
Japan Study Abroad was the best decision I have made regarding my education so far!