Study Abroad FIG Offers New Experiences

Freshman Jamie Berry is from Raymore, Missouri. Her roommate, junior Aki Taniguchi, is from Nagoya, Japan. The girls live on the first floor of Defoe-Graham, where sharing a room with someone that grew up half a world away is a normal thing. Berry and Taniguchi are part of the Exploring Studying Abroad Freshman Interest Group (FIG). “It’s for students who are interested in studying abroad and it teaches us about how to prepare for eventually studying abroad, like how to save money for it, different programs, what cultural things to expect,” Berry said. “By the end of the semester we have a plan to study abroad in the future.” Everyone in the FIG has an international roommate. “When I was trying to figure out where I wanted to live and who I wanted to live with, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to room with somebody I already knew, so I thought I should just go to the total extreme and room with someone that is a total stranger from a completely different place,” Berry laughs. That total stranger ended up being Taniguchi, who is from the city of Nagoya, Japan. Nagoya is in the middle of the country between Tokyo and Osaka. Taniguchi began her college education at Nanzan University in Nagoya before deciding to study abroad in the United States to further her study of her major, which is anthropology. Taniguchi said that one of her favorite parts of studying in the United States so far had to do with teaching methods used by University of Missouri professors that differed from those used by her professors at Nanzan University. “I think it’s different because in Japan the professors, they start with examples, and after that they expand the idea and explain the basic idea of anthropology and what is culture and what should I do to understand people from other cultures, but in my anthropology class [here], first professor say the basic idea and what is culture, and then he explain in more details, so I can understand the very basic of anthropology,” Taniguchi said. “In Japan, my major was anthropology, but I didn’t know what is anthropology. I think it is weird.” Studying in a different country presents a lot of different challenges. Often one of the hardest to overcome is the language barrier, Taniguchi said, especially in the classroom. “It is really difficult to understand the English, especially the professors speak English really fast, the students speak really fast,” Taniguchi said. “In the beginning of the class I couldn’t understand what they were saying so it was really sad.” However, Taniguchi said that one of the best things about having a roommate from a different country is getting to learn and experience new things. “It’s, for me, to live with other person, it’s my first time,” Taniguchi said. “When I’m having trouble or I want to know American culture, I sometimes ask Jamie, like, I’ll ask her is it different and she really tells me a lot of American culture. It’s so different from Japanese culture. I often tell her about my life in Japan, to recognize our difference, but also our similarities. I feel like we are having really good experience I think.”

Taniguchi and Berry
Taniguchi and Berry
Japanese toys
Japanese toys
Fans featuring Japanese calligraphy
Fans featuring Japanese calligraphy
How to use chopsticks
How to hold your chopsticks
How to fold a paper crane
How to fold a paper crane
Taniguchi with a paper crane she folded
Taniguchi with a paper crane she folded
Taniguchi's paper crane
Taniguchi’s paper crane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s