When I found out that the first year of my course allows me to take up to 30 credits of unrestricted modules, immediately I went to the directory of modules to check out the language courses available at the University of Sheffield.
The university offers a variety of language courses, ranging from French, Latin, and Spanish to Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The best of both worlds I would say! Most of them are hosted under the Modern Languages Teaching Centre (MLTC) and the School of East Asian Studies. Don’t worry if you don’t have any prior knowledge for the language that you want to take up, these languages are offered to accommodate students with different proficiencies.
After browsing through the language modules, I had decided to take up Japanese for Non-Specialists. It has always been my interest to study Japanese language and the nation’s culture (I’m an anime fan yoooo) so this is the perfect opportunity to really delve into it. Furthermore, I figure it would be beneficial for me to explore as many opportunities as I can during my first year as I planned to take relevant modules that will really complement my future career in the subsequent years of my course.
Going to classes:
Unlike the typical huge lectures, the Japanese lessons are normally conducted in classrooms with only a group of 20 people at maximum per class. This is probably so to allow the sensei (teacher) to monitor the students’ progress closely and therefore providing appropriate feedback whenever possible. At the same time, it is easier to interact with other classmates due to the small class size. As a matter of fact, I know more people from my Japanese lessons than from my Psychology course!
The module focuses on grammar and speaking, listening skills of Japanese language. Every now and then we learn new phrases and immediately practice speaking them by forming pairs in class. One of the most memorable moments that I find so far is when all of us had to stand up, walk around the class greeting everyone and introducing ourselves in Japanese. Being an international student myself, I struggled to make friends with the British. Mostly I hang out with other international students or students from my own country. Communicating in Japanese, a language new to both groups of students, breaks down the cultural differences and therefore during this episode, both locals and international students alike had fun interacting with each other and with ease. To make things even better, we had to bow down to each other during our conversation, just like how polite Japanese do in real life.
“Look at their feet when you bow, not at their eyes!”