My name is Naoko Kawakami, majoring in Foreign Studies. This summer, I had the opportunity to go to the Netherlands thanks to the splendid friendship between Osaka University and the University of Groningen. I am sure that I would not trade my days there for anything.
My stay in Groningen was quite rewarding because it opened the door of studying in Europe. To tell the truth, before I went there, I had little interest in Europe, and I had never expected to study English in the Netherlands. First of all, the beautiful scenery and the old historical buildings fascinated me. I was surprised to find the people in the Netherlands spoke beautiful English as well. Moreover, in the University of Groningen, we learned about trade relations in the European Union besides academic writing and presentation. I realized that the environment there was well-prepared for us to study both English and international relations. And because historically the Netherlands has been closely related to Japan, living there was welcoming. I learned that Groningen city and its university were great for studying. Groningen was a neat, clean and sylvan city. Moreover, the teachers were enthusiastic and kind. As it is now, this city and university have become one of my favorites. I recommend studying in Groningen to my friends who are considering going abroad to study English.
I had a priceless time there because I always tried to make use of my willingness. For instance, I expressed my opinion during classes or whenever the teacher asked us something. Saying one’s assertion is often seen as selfish in Japan. However, I could not help stating my opinion, especially during the classes because whenever I step into the new world, I make it a rule to follow the old saying, “A man away from home need feel no shame.” By doing so, every teacher recognized me quickly. They remembered me as Naoko, not as the easier English name ‘Lily.’ After I had started sharing my opinion or answering teachers’ questions, it brought about more interactions with my classmates which also made my classmates open up even more.
In closing, studying abroad is quite meaningful for everyone, and it has different meanings for each individual. We can experience a variety of things beyond acquiring language skills or studying our majors. Now it is your time to come out from your world. Do you not understand English that well? Is your major unrelated to languages? That does not matter. Studying abroad gives you a challenging environment in which you can change yourself. Just take a chance!
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