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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From Waseda to China

Ms. Ayumi Takada
4th year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

So Ambitious as to Persuade the University
Ayumi in Dalian Forest Zoo

Ayumi in Dalian Forest Zoo

Her first study-abroad experience began when she was at high school. It was a ten-month stay in Vancouver, Canada. It was then, Ayumi said, that she came up with the idea of learning Asian languages. "So, studying in China was my goal even before I entered Waseda University." Then, she was enrolled at the School of Chinese Studies, Dalian University of Foreign Languages. Although the School of Chinese Studies offers four-year courses for international students, one-year international students are required to attend the Chinese Language Program. But Ayumi persuaded the University to allow her to take also the first-semester specialized courses of Marketing and International Trade in the School of English Studies. In the second semester, she hoped to join the Department of Economics & Trade in the School of Chinese Studies. In the Department, courses are conducted in Beijing dialect. "But they refused, saying there was no precedent," she said. Finally, however, the University was persuaded by her earnest ambition. She created a precedent.

Beautiful Chinese Language (Beijing Dialect): An Initiation

"There are different Chinese varieties. It's a little-known fact that a Chinese variety or dialect spoken in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, is said to be most beautiful. So, many announcers come from Harbin," she said as a sort of initiation. There is also what is called Dalian dialect. "I once couldn't understand at all what a taxi driver said," she laughed in reminiscence.

Tied by a strong bond of friendship
Ayumi's Japanese, Korean and Italian friends: international students in the Chinese Language Program

Ayumi's Japanese, Korean and Italian friends: international students in the Chinese Language Program

Although having suffered great calamity in the Sino-Japanese War, Dalian seemed for her rather Japanophile. "There are many Japanese subsidiary companies and Dalian has developed as an "Economic and Technological Development Zone." That may be why a lot of students learn Japanese. It is surprising." Chinese people are somewhat distant at first, but, once personally acquainted, they are very kind. During the Chinese New Year celebration, she was invited to her friend's home. With the family, she made and ate guotie (gyoza or fried dumplings) while the streets are filled with the sounds of exploding firecrackers. It is a very pleasant remembrance.

When she came back to Japan, she felt herself emancipated from Japan. She now feels she can go and live anywhere. "Now I think I can accept anyone from any country as he/she is. This is what I've got from my stay in China," she said with a beaming smile.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)