I first became interested in learning Japanese because I love the soft musical sound of the language. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I was just going to take one or two classes, but I loved Lewis & Clark’s Japanese program and ended up completing the minor. I came to Lewis & Clark with no prior Japanese experience, but many of my fellow students had studied Japanese to some extent before college, and I can attest to the care and expertise with which Lewis & Clark treats both types of students. If I had attended a different college I might not have pursued Japanese, but thanks to the Lewis & Clark program I have experienced many things and gained a sense of achievement that I never would have otherwise.
My first and fourth years I participated in the Toyama Cup Speech Contest. Toyama is a prefecture in Japan, and Toyama and Oregon are sister states. Every year Oregon college students write speeches in Japanese and compete to win a trip to Japan and a tour of Toyama prefecture. In my fourth year I was lucky enough to win third place in the upper level division. It takes time and effort but competing in the Toyama cup is a wonderful experience. I also had the good fortune of studying abroad in Osaka, where I made many good friends and strengthened my Japanese through intensive study. Whether you choose to study a language or not, I definitely recommend studying abroad.
Currently, I am looking to use my language skills to teach English to foreign students. I recently enrolled in a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, and hope to become a Japanese English Teacher (JET) next year. I am also looking to take some translation and interpretation courses at my local community college. Japanese has already given me so many opportunities to meet new people and connect in new ways and Lewis & Clark has been a great step in what I hope will be a long life filled with language.