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					                                                               UBC Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth   www.tag.ubc.ca

   Student View
   Showcasing students’ learning experiences and their ideas and views about learning.

   When Students Learn Best:              Let me tell you more. I spent last        overlooking Kyoto, surrounded by
   A Go Global Student in                 year on exchange to Ritsumeikan           hundreds of monkeys, feeding them
   Japan                                  University in Kyoto, Japan.               bananas, marveling at the way they
                                          Japanese class at UBC was                 interacted with me. I was so glad
   Emily Koehler, 4th year, Japanese      great, but there’s no way that my         that I knew that word.
   major                                  Japanese class could compare to
                                          living in Japan twenty-four hours a       I think that all language students
   The one thing that every student       day. When you learn Japanese in           should go abroad for the cultural
   planning to go on exchange will        Japan, you have your “days”. Some         knowledge of course, the
   hear is “It’ll                         days you can understand Japanese,         grammatical. There are some
   change your                            but you can’t speak it. Some days         grammatical constructions that
   life!” What                            you can ask questions, but can’t          don’t make any sense as a
   they don’t tell                        understand the answers. Some              language student, but become
   you, is how it                         days you can do both. And there are       magically clear when you see
   happens. You                           days you can do neither.                  them in everyday use in Japan. In
   can guess...                                                                     addition, the rate at which you learn
   trying different                       To learn a language, I needed two         is incredible. Often, I would learn
   foods,                                 things: a willingness to accept           a word in class in the morning,
   speaking a different language,         that there is so much that I won’t        and then hear that word ten times
   doing things that you’ve never         understand and the tenacity to            on the streets in the afternoon. It
   done before. But can’t you do all      keep on learning anyway. You              cements it into your brain.
   of these things in Canada? For         can’t freak out if you
   me, my exchange experience was         don’t understand every
   about testing my limits. I learned     word in a sentence or
   how to comfortably go to public        anything at all. At the
   baths. I ate a fish head. I dealt       same time, you have
   with a health insurance problem        to have the desire to
   in Japanese when the only thing I      find out what it was you
   knew how to say related to health      didn’t understand, and
   insurance was “I am sick.”             learn it.

   And then suddenly, everything in       Every word you learn
   life seems easier. My confidence        is useful. I remember
   level shot sky high. When it           studying Japanese at
   wasn’t so high, I had the support      the 100-level, and there
   of the staff at Go Global behind       was the word “monkey”
   me. I have learned that I can do       in the textbook. I really
   anything, and if it’s not physically   thought at that time that
   within my grasp, how to connect        I would never need to
   to the resources available to me in    know this word. Then,
   order to make it possible.             of course, as one of my
                                          most precious memories
   With this experience under my          in Japan, I was taken
   belt, I feel prepared to meet life     to the top of “Monkey
   after I graduate from UBC. Where       Mountain” because               Emily Koehler (right) and Rui Kumagai (left,
   am I headed? I don’t exactly know      of the great number         former UBC exchange student from Japan). Cherry-
   yet, but now I feel that I have a      of monkeys that lived       blossom viewing at Nijo Castle while on exchange to
   world of options...literally.          there. I sat on a bench           Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.

TAPESTRY, SPRING 2006 ISSUE, NUMBER 12                                                                                    1
    UBC Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth   www.tag.ubc.ca

When I left for Japan, I had the
minimum level of Japanese
required to enter the program at
Ritsumeikan. I didn’t know how
much my Japanese had improved
until I returned to UBC. I skipped
200 and 300 level, and now am
studying at the 400 level. It is
still challenging, and those same
two attributes that are necessary
overseas still apply. Before I left
for Japan I would tell people that
“I study Japanese.” Now I can say
confidently that “I speak Japanese.”
It is really an amazing feeling.

 We seek undergraduate students to
   author articles for this column. Are
you a current student or a recent graduate? I
look forward to your submission, of 300-400
words, that describes ‘when you learn best’,
   and includes your first-hand experience,
  interview of others, constructive review of
 an existing program, or ideas for the future.
Contact the Editor: <alice.cassidy@ubc.ca>.
 All who submit articles will be entered into
 a draw for $100 in gift certificates from the
                UBC Bookstore.

Go Global Before You
Graduate: Study, Work or
Katherine Beaumont, Director, Go
Global: Student Mobility Programs                       Face to Face: Two of Jasmine Wongʼs friends at the Louvre—one old, one
                                                                new—while on exchange at Lancaster University in 2004.
During the 2005-06 academic year,
over 700 UBC students are studying,
working or volunteering globally as part
of their UBC experience. Would you like                   Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: Visual
to ensure your students know about                        Stories
the current opportunities? We can help.
Is there a program at a university you                    To view the winning 2005 Photo Essays from UBC students
know that would complement your                           returned from exchange and visiting exchange students
students UBC degree? Help us build                        here at UBC, visit <http://students.ubc.ca/global/index.
the UBC faculty recommendations.                          cfm?page=contest>
Contact Go Global at <goglobal@ubc.
ca> or phone 604-822-0942. Visit

    2                                                                                          TAPESTRY, SPRING 2006 ISSUE, NUMBER 12

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