Before arriving in Japan and up until now, I’ve been thinking about all the goals I want to accomplish before next July. I have 11 months to fill with amazing experiences! Living abroad for a year has been on my bucket list for a while and I’m so glad that I get to do it now and at this age. I’m young (and wild and free, just kidding. Not really…) and can learn so much from these experiences and be able to better myself as a person and broaden my knowledge. My brain screams “TRAVEL WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG!!!” and I’m going to be doing that. I majored in Anthropology, so I love love love traveling and learning about other cultures. I really hope that I can incorporate traveling in my future job someday, whatever it will be.
I believe that traveling inspires and motivates you to open your eyes to different experiences and different people. You learn so much when you travel, even if it’s just an hour away from where you live. People live in communities different from yours and have different practices and lifestyles. I’m going to take all these experiences and build myself to be a better person: to be more open, more compassionate, to learn to laugh things off when I embarrass myself, and so many other things.
My goals for this year in Japan:
1. Study Japanese a little bit every day – Whether they are full on lessons or learning five new vocabulary words, it will help me to become a better speaker. It’s on my bucket list to become fluent in another language and I will work towards that.
2. Put myself out there more when speaking – The only way I can get better at Japanese is to put it in practice. The only way I can put what I’m learning into practice is to talk to people (AHHHHH!!!!). If you know me, you would know that I’m not one to go up to people first. I hate small talk, because I’m super awkward and I don’t know what to say. Now, I have to do that, but in Japanese. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Cue panic attack!!! I can barely speak and understand what people are saying, how can I even try to have a conversation with them? But I can see that they’re happy to see that I’m trying to speak, even if it’s a short sentence. They also get super happy when they see me studying Japanese. Seeing them happy motivates me to study harder. I really want to be able to have a conversation with them in their native language.
3. Travel to at least three different places in Japan and once to another country – Like I said before, I love traveling and part of the reason why I came here was to go and see Japan and Asia. I’m trying to be as realistic as possible, instead of saying, “I want to visit 20 cities and travel to every country in Asia!” I guess it could be possible to do that in a year, but I need to save money plus I don’t think I have that many breaks to do that. Maybe in a span of two or three years it may be a little more possible to visit 20 different cities, but we’ll have to see how long I’ll stay here.
4. Take part in an aspect of Japanese culture – By this I mean, taiko (Japanese drumming), traditional dancing, archery, things along those lines. I’m really interesting in learning taiko so hopefully I can find a place where I can learn.
5. Make a Japanese friend – I don’t always want to be surrounded by foreigners, plus I think I’ll be able to learn more about culture and language by having Japanese friends! I want someone I can go out to lunch with or go get coffee with (even though I don’t think coffee). This relates back to #2 sooooo we’ll see what happens…
6. Be conversational by next July – I don’t know if this is too far fetched, but I would like to be conversational in Japanese by next July. I know I won’t know all the complex grammar and words, but I would like to be able to have conversations with my co-workers at lunch without having to look up words every 2 minutes. Plus, I want to impress my family and Mark when they come visit me.
7. Always be learning something new – Whether it’s Japanese, the culture, or how to turn on the stove, I always want to be learning something new. It’s important to me to be able to be able to teach other people about this culture and the things I gained from living here.
In a year from now, I plan on doing a reflection post to see how much I’m able to accomplish! Lets do this!