2023/7/27 - DoTTS Faculty 教員コラム
“To DO Lists” (Lisa Gayle Bond )
It seems like it was just yesterday that I met the first-year students for the first time during orientation on April 3rd. There was a stressful silence that hung over the entire classroom, and looks of uncertainty and nervousness were apparent in almost everyone’s facial expressions and body language. No doubt many students were worried about if they could make friends or keep up with classes. It was an atmosphere filled with uncertainty and fear as well as hope and expectations. It was still early in the morning, and the day had just begun.
After lunch, all the first-year students returned to the room for more orientation. It was noisier than the first session and many students appeared to have made friends during lunchtime. At the beginning of the afternoon session, everyone got in groups according to the snacks they received, and in a few minutes, 23 groups of 4 or 5 students formed across the room. Once in these groups, students were asked to take a few minutes to get to know each other. Then after that, students were given paper, markers, and a task of deciding the top three things their group wanted to accomplish while students at Dokkyo. After writing the tasks down, the Beyond student volunteers went around and reported back to the entire group the various things the students wanted to do.
The lists were very interesting and the findings were what I think are quite representative of all the students in the Department of Tourism and Transnational Studies. A few “stood out” as not only humorous but also somewhat unique. One group wrote that they wanted to “return to their youth”. (WOW! This is something I would expect to hear from my colleagues or friends at my high school or university class reunion, but not something I would expect to hear on the first day of university! My thought is that if you all are not young now, what does that make me? I am worried! )
Another group stated they wanted to use their student discounts as much as possible. What a wonderful idea! I remember when I first came to Japan and I learned about student discount train fares, I became very excited about where I could go and what I could see and do. I took a few trips as far away as Kyushu and Hokkaido and I had some wonderful experiences in between those two places. A friend in graduate school then told me about the “青春18” ticket, and though I have never used that type of ticket yet, I have a plan to use it and visit some places soon.
The above two groups’ ideas were interesting and unique. Beyond these two groups, a common tendency was found among the responses of all the groups. Among the things listed, the fourth most common idea among the groups was earning money or getting a job. Some groups combined this with other ideas like going abroad or joining a circle or club. Getting a job is an important step towards becoming self-reliant as an adult. There are so many skills that can be learned from working at a part-time job. Perhaps one of the most important skills is just “showing up”. Beyond showing up, communicating with others, and learning new skills while sharpening old ones are all wonderful aspects of a part-time job. Of course, earning money is also a great part of having a part-time job. When I was a student and decided I wanted to study abroad, I worked close to 60 hours a week for one entire summer so I could get on an airplane and fly to Fukuoka to study there for nine months. I was glad I had two part-time jobs (I was a swimming coach and lifeguard and a telephone reservation agent for a large rental car corporation), and I was even happier to be able to make that life-changing trip to Japan! I feel certain that many DoTTS students have similar plans on ways to use the money they earn at their part-time jobs to have life-changing experiences.
The third most common idea found among twelve of the groups was the desire to improve proficiency in English or a foreign language. Hopefully, everyone has recognized that this goal is quite attainable by attending the foreign language classes offered here at Dokkyo University. Dokkyo has so many different foreign language classes and there are so many different ways to enhance one’s foreign language ability both on and off campus today, that this goal may be the easiest one to achieve for the DoTTS students.
The second most common idea was studying abroad, and thirteen groups listed this goal among their top three. There are so many ways to study abroad, and I hope that all the students that are interested in studying abroad have attended some of the information sessions provided by Dokkyo University’s International Center. There are short-term study programs during the spring and summer sessions that focus on language development and cultural experiences. Beyond these programs, there are opportunities for students to study abroad for either one semester or two at one of the many universities that Dokkyo has established relationships with around the world. Of course, students can also venture out on their own by taking a leave of absence from their studies and entering into a program that suits their needs. Now that the world is entering into a “post-COVID era,” it is a good time to go out and learn about many new things in a different environment.
Most of the groups wrote down either traveling abroad or studying abroad as one of the top three things they wanted to do. Fifteen groups stated they wanted to travel, and of those fifteen groups, nine specifically stated they wanted to travel abroad. Thirteen groups stated they wanted to study abroad! That is wonderful.
And so I have a few questions for everyone. How are you doing with these goals? Have you gotten that job? Has your foreign language ability improved? How about that second language? Have you begun to look seriously into study abroad programs? And have you made a plan to take a trip abroad? Each of these goals requires some action on the part of each individual, and I am hoping that each person has taken some steps toward the goals set at the beginning of the term. (Of course, I hope also that students in the second, third, and fourth years are also taking steps to meet their personal goals set when they entered university.)
Summer is a great time to get a job! Summer is a great time to continue independent study on a foreign language (just five minutes a day – every day – makes a difference). And summer is a great time for travel both in Japan and abroad. For those that can’t go abroad this summer, staying in Japan at youth hostels and places that are frequented by foreign guests might be a great way to improve foreign language skills as well as experience a “different” Japan with foreign guests. (My family and I spent a weekend a few weeks ago at Hakuba, and we were quite surprised to find that the lodge we stayed at was staffed by mostly Australians on working holidays. Every restaurant we visited was staffed by young foreign guests on working holidays, and English was the common language we heard throughout the area! It was quite the experience!!)
I hope that everyone will take time to “DO” something … “DO” anything fun, exciting, and meaningful this summer. May it be a wonderful and safe time, and may each and everyone have a restful summer filled with great experiences to tide us over until our next summer break!
Best wishes for a happy summer!!!