On May 24th, 2008, I officially completed my term at 関西外国語大学 <Kansai Gaikokugo Daigaku>. I spent two semesters here, starting in August of 2007. My feelings toward the school are mixed, but after everything, I’m very glad I was able to spend time at the school. The two things I didn’t care for were that foreign students had classes to themselves, and weren’t permitted to mix with the Japanese student classes, and that the spring semesters are almost entirely separate from each other. Even so, I did learn a lot of Japanese, and make some really good friends. I was also able to study subjects that would have been impossible to replicate in my University. International Negotiation for example; what better way to learn this subject than in a classroom with students from all over the world.
The school hosted a nice graduation ceremony for us, that included the consulate general as a guest speaker. His message was that communication is the answer for the world today. Other speakers that I enjoyed were Mark Tracy (my Int. Neg. teacher) and Saigo-sensei (my japanese 3 teacher).
His speech was a representation of our classes. We learned the grammar structure 「~思ったより~」, which is to say more than I thought. First he gave some examples, including “Japanese teachers are nicer/meaner than I thought.” Then we got the inevitable challenge to come up with 5 sentences on our own. If we didn’t, he said we weren’t allowed to graduate. Unlike in class, we reached the 5 sentence goal. Granted, we had about 400 more students than usual working on it.
It was a really good speech, and I have it on video. (^_~)
Mark Tracy, whom I also have on video, also gave a speech that opened with the advice he solicited from friends on preparing a graduation speech. He said that most of his friends responded that it was too long, and one said that if he encouraged us to “spread our wings and fly,” he wouldn’t speak to him again. The rest of his speech was about remembering the times we had: とりきぞく, kyoto, friends and arguments, history, and so on. He told us that we are now part of a global family, and we don’t always get to choose who’s included.
After the ceremony, the school gave us a special banquet. The food was delicious, and it was great to see everyone. I was sad for it to be over, more than I expected. I met a lot of people for the last time, and I said a lot of goodbyes, but I had a good time, and I’m glad I didn’t opt out of going like some other friends.
I was also glad to be able to introduce my Mom to some people for the first time. She was able to meet some of my friends that she only heard about before, as well as meet my host family.
Anyway, that was my last official day at Kansai Gaidai. Here’s a final picture of the International Students Class of ’08. Can you find me??