Alumni Network Message from Alumni Association

E-Newsletter for International Students

Dear Nanzan Alumni,

I hope this message finds all of you well and happy. Time flies. More than 9 months have passed since I assumed the position of Director of the Center for International Education, and a lot has been happening.

You may or may not know this but our Center handles all the students coming from all over the world, not just to the Center for Japanese Studies but to all the faculties, departments and graduate schools within Nanzan. We are also responsible for all the Nanzan students studying abroad every year. As you can imagine, not a day goes by when there is no “problem” or “issue”. Whenever there is a natural disaster, major accident, or act of terrorism somewhere in the world, it is possible that some of our students are near the affected area. The Center immediately gets in touch with those students and provides assistance as to what they should do to keep themselves safe.

There are, of course, issues that foreign students studying at Nanzan face, many of which are intercultural and/or communication issues. Differences in the expected behaviors or in how they should be conveying what they are thinking in Japanese culture as opposed to in the student’s native culture can very easily (and often unconsciously) cause friction. These intercultural issues can grow to be a serious obstacle to living a fulfilling life in Japan, particularly in a host family situation. Good intensions on both sides can collide and generate a spark of dislike and distrust. In September last year, building on my background in sociolinguistics and communication research, I gave a lecture to all the CJS students and some of their host families together to discuss “why cultural differences can cause misunderstandings and what we can do about them.” The bottom line is that we all have to develop our ability to take the perspective of the other person, putting aside our spontaneous (often emotional) response to what the other person has said or done. It does require patience and discipline, but it is definitely worth it.

So, as you can imagine, thanks to the position I assumed, I am so deeply grateful when the world is peaceful and safe, and when people from different cultures understand and appreciate each other despite their differences. These two situations make my life as Director peaceful.

At last but not least, as I mentioned in my last message, the Center is going to start offering Nanzan Summer Japanese Program staring this June. For details, please click here. I hope we get many good students!

Have a great 2012!

Yoshikazu Charlie Watanabe
Center for International Education
Nanzan University




最後になりましたが、前回のメッセージでもお知らせしましたとおり、今年の6月からNanzan Summer Japanese Programが始まります。詳細につきましては、こちらをクリックしてください。素晴らしい学生の皆さんがたくさん参加してくれるように願っています!