Hey, my name is Kiandro and I’ve been writing these articles for quite some time now as a graduate student living in Japan. I absolutely love languages, culture and exploring the world and I know that sounds kind of lame for a description but it’s true.
Anyhow, as a student living abroad in a foreign country I wanted to write about some things I’ve learnt since coming here and maybe you can take away some kind of valuable lesson from it or something like that.
Being a student especially a graduate student in ANOTHER country is NOT easy. I know some of you reading this are hyped and super inspired about studying or even living in your dream country but the transitional period is bittersweet.
For the first few months, I went through what my Japanese Sensei refers to as aporia. It is a state of doubt, puzzlement and estrangement. I constantly felt like my life is being toyed with by life itself (deep, I know). But, it’s been 10 months now and I think I fixed it, so yay?
On-campus I found myself alone most days in the student commons, tight-lipped unwilling to speak to other students. Heck, I even avoided school altogether some days and just stayed in my room to work on my thesis. This was one of the biggest mistakes I could’ve made but I’m glad I fixed it before it was too late. If you’re a student reading this or even a language learner in general afraid to engage in a larger community, I’m here to tell you don’t be.
Being involved in the student community makes me feel like I have a complete identity, no it is part of my identity – at least for this phase in my life. I tend to go there just about every day now to talk to other students in Japanese and English, research cool stuff about culture and just soak in the environment.
The other thing I wanted to talk about was being involved in on-campus activities. I felt as if I wasn’t even part of the campus as an international student, like who am I to join these clubs? A guy all the way from The Bahamas, absurd, non-sense, fallacy at its finest. But I was wrong, people wanted me to join their clubs because people wanted to know more about me and my culture. I’m literally the first Bahamian a lot of people have ever met in this country and that makes me excited; excited because I can share so much great things about the country I was born in. In language learning, you’re going to be engaging a lot in this kind of exchange so my advice is to just get your feet wet. See what’s happening on campus, local events, etc. It won’t kill you to share some things about your country. It might even help you learn things you didn’t even know about your country. Knowledge is power.
One other thing I noticed was how precious some moments are. Yeah, studying is important and all, but if you can’t link what you’re learning to other things in life then it’s a wasted effort. So, take it from me, go out to eat with the natives, go to karaoke even when you have midterms (make room), don’t decline invitations for a hangout or movie – Just go everywhere.
“Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”
This has been an honest student review from Kiandro Scavella, a graduate school student living in Japan.