Study Abroad Experience -- Courtney Yancey

Studying at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo in the spring of 2013 was an amazing experience for me, and I would recommend it to anyone. Oberlin has students of all levels studying Japanese, so you never feel alone, and integrating into the school life and environment is easy and fun. The campus is beautiful, with flowers and trees everywhere, and live student performances on an outside stage every day at lunch time, so it’s really hard not to look forward to school every day! Because Oberlin University is known for being a school that many abroad students come to, the Japanese students there often have enrolled for the very reason of making foreign friends, making it even easier to practice Japanese more often in an authentic setting, while having fun and hanging out with new friends as well. The school also offers many full-immersion content-courses, in which you use Japanese not just to learn about the language itself, but to use what you already know to discuss opinions and ideas on modern culture and society. The teachers are always helpful when needed, but challenging and constructive, so you find yourself improving quicker than you thought possible.

Being a part of the school's student organization ichigo-ichie was one of my favorite aspects of studying abroad in Japan. Only Japanese was spoken within the group, and they organized numerous events to get us out of the dorm to experience Japanese culture firsthand. We played by the riverside and had a Japanese barbeque together, went to several festivals while wearing yukata to see fireworks,  or spent time together in the city trying out different restaurants—all while speaking Japanese, so we could practice and improve our speaking and listening skills. We played sports together, cooked Japanese food together in the dorms, and even lazed around and watched crazy Japanese television together. Field trips to onsen, Mount Fuji, and lots of other famous places throughout Japan were lots of fun too, and an experience I will always cherish. 

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