Japanese Visitors on Campus
Have you noticed that many Japanese people visit Portland during summer? Many of them are living in the dorms here at PSU for a few months. The Office of International Affairs at PSU enables students from foreign countries to visit Portland and PSU in order to expand their knowledge of English as well as to experience another culture. This summer, I have been working for a Japanese group from the Tokyo University of Science (TUS). The students take English classes until the afternoon and then have fun activities around Portland in the evening. My job is to help with these activities as a translator, to explain cultural differences as a kind of guide, and to show students where important resources are. So far, we have been hiking at the Columbia Gorge and visited Washington park as well as numerous museums. We also went to Seattle and to Victoria in Canada for a weekend. But my real job is to help the students become self reliant in this new country. They need to be able to buy groceries, order in restaurants, and get around the city on their own. Most of time they have to use English, and when they have a question or unexpected situation, they need to figure out how to find help while using English. I am helping them learn how to survive here. At the beginning of their visit, they were nervous and very shy about speaking English, but now, near the end of their stay in Portland, it seems like they have more confidence and are much more comfortable. I am amazed by their ability to adjust to a different culture as well as a foreign language. So if you see a group of Japanese students, try and make them feel welcome here in this strange place!