Saturday, August 1, 2015

General Q&A for stuff I forgot to mention in other posts

Hey guys! Thank you so much for the comments/questions that you sent me, I'm slowly working towards answering them all. This is just to fill in some gaps I might have left in my videos and if you still have any questions please ask me!!

I did a video about classes I took in Japan and how my experience was with them. You can click HERE to watch that video. A viewer asked me if I had any problem with the Japanese language in my classes. I had TONS of trouble with understanding the classes language wise at first! It took me a while to get used to listening to my teachers speak in Japanese, then it took a time to understand what they were actually saying. It was definitely not an easy process, and a lot longer than I thought but it wasn't impossible.
I took Japanese (こくご国語) with my homeroom class and lucky for me, they were on the Old and historic Chinese section. As a Chinese-Canadian, that was extremely easy for me to handle since a lot of it was stuff I already knew. In fact, I was the only one raising my hand most of the time when the teacher asked any questions about the meaning of the phrases! That was about the only time I actually felt smart in my high school carrier haha! In contrast, the hardest courses were Math (すうがく数学) and Sciences (かがく科学) for me. I'm not a very good student in these courses to begin with, less to say when I don't fully understand the language it was taught in. Math was manageable with the numbers but calculators weren't allowed so it was a huge hustle for me to calculate everything by hand (which I haven't done since grade 6). They had a lot of Katakana (カタカナ) which meant the words were foreign but I still had trouble understanding them only because I never liked Math. Science, on the other hand, was much more traumatic. I took Chemistry (かがく化学) and Biology (せいぶつがく生物学) and both required lots of writing and most of the material was in Kanji (かんじ漢字). I just remember every single class, me and my fellow exchange student Miia, sitting in the back of the class and copying what the teacher wrote on the board. Yes, I have asked myself multiple times why I did that to myself. And I persuaded Miia to join that class. I'm sorry Miia.

I went on exchange with an organization called Greenheart Travel (CCI) which does both high school exchanges, volunteer programs and teaching programs across the globe. They're based in Chicago, US and have been in business since the 80s. I did a lot of research before I completely put my trust in them but they were extremely patient and helpful with my 101 questions AND my mom who didn't trust anybody she can't see in person. They did send me a T-shirt that I love because it is SO comfortable but this is 100% not sponsored by the company. Trust me, I will tell you if something sucks. I did have to fill out a lot of forms like medical forms and forms about myself which is understandable since they're responsible for me while abroad and they're trying really hard to find a host family that suited me (they absolutely nailed it).

Many messaged me, worried about re-doing their year in their native country after exchanging and I really am not a specialist in these things PLUS your school and my school must be very different. I spoke to my guidance counselor at school BEFORE completing my application with Greenheart to make sure my high school would allow me to be away studying for half a year. Luckily, they were fully supportive of my decisions and they explained to me what I needed academically to pass onto my senior year. I had already accumulated 2 grade11 credits in grade10 so I only had to do four more courses in the semester I got back in order to graduate in time. So I think some planing is definitely needed but I decided to go abroad a few months before I was packing for my trip, nothing to stress about. Pulling from my personal experience, talking to your school beforehand is probably the best thing to do after you made your decision.

This is it for now, as I said in the first line of this post, please let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment down below or...
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