Sunday, June 20, 2010

YFU Orientation #2

Today I went to an orientation for YFU Japan students who are about to leave for a year to help out with English conversation; I can do that very well. There were several surprises waiting for me.

First: the YFU Japan orientation is far more rigorous than the YFU USA orientation. They go to the orientation several times over the course of several months (I think), and there were only 25 students (going to America AND Germany) so they accomplished much more in a shorter amount of time than we did at JPDO. They take English tests! And probably German tests too, but I wasn't with the German group for obvious reasons. The practice speaking and introducing themselves, and they get feedback on how well they did.*

Second: There is a YFU Europe. I didn't know that, but I guess it makes sense. YFU students can't travel to a country without a YFU office to take care of them in that country, and there are plenty of YFU students in Europe. Not knowing that there were any students in Nagoya other than from YFU USA, I was a little confused when a girl at the orientation who appeared to be there for the same reason I was started talking to me in Japanese. She was clearly not Japanese. In fact, she was German. It was me, two German girls (who spoke a little English) and a girl from Holland** (spoke English with barely even an accent!), all three of which are in Nagoya for the entire school year.

Third: I'm pretty sure my host family knows basically everyone. All of the orientation staff knew my host sister because they went to America together several years ago through YFU. This is like the sixth person/group of people that my host mom has run into in seven days. It's getting a little ridiculous.

Today's big accomplishment: read 名教 (めいきょう/meikyou) kanji correctly the first time I looked at it!

*I managed to make a fool of myself. Shocker. We were separated into tables when everyone practiced introductions, and when one student finished the staff member at my table asked for some advice. I didn't know she was talking about the introduction, so I gave some weirdo life advice for when they go to America. And instead of stopping me, the girl running the table just let me go on and sound like an idiot. I hate language barriers.

**Holland beat Japan last night in the World Cup. Or yesterday I guess, if you're in America.

Also, YFU staff are the nicest and friendliest people ever.


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