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Summer 2023 Reflections: Lingyi Chen

by Lingyi Chen ('24 EAS-MA candidate)

I remember the five weeks at Ristumeikan University by the summer humidity in Kyoto, the early morning Japanese practicums, and the bookstores or diners at the end of each street. This was my first time returning to Japan after the three years of the pandemic. It was also my first time walking around Kyoto as a student instead of a tourist.

My classmates were much younger than I expected, which sometimes embarrassed me when I thought of how fluent they were at communicating with local people (but this was also a huge source of motivation). The days in Kyoto now feel like a long time ago, but the conversations we shared in classrooms and on morning buses remain so vivid in my memory. 

A friend asked me how much my Japanese has improved. How much have I improved? I guess to a degree that I am no longer afraid of making mistakes. Or to a degree that I no longer have to panic when I am asked for directions to somewhere I have never heard of on the street.  (I have learned a good number of ways to politely express that I have absolutely no idea where it is.)

The best thing I gained from the experience is knowing that I have the ability to continue learning the language on my own. I can hardly think of a better way to spend the summer, a summer which was far more beautiful than my photos show. 

Slideshow of photos from Lingyi Chen