A WEEK OF JAPANESE AT HEINRICH HEINE UNIVERSITY – PART II
As you can guess already, the course ‘Modernes Japan’ at the Heinrich Heine University deals with the more modern times of Japan. We study the ‘modern’ Japanese language, basically the language you need for the daily life in Japan. We learn about the culture, the society and of course the history of Japan during individual courses.
We have language courses every single day as you can see in the table below.
Because we are too many people, the number of students is divided into different groups of language courses. One type of lesson is being taught repeatedly during one day, during different periods. You are free to choose which lesson you want to attend at the beginning of the semester, when you put together your timetable.
If I am not mistaken, there are 3 – 4 courses each day. When you choose your language courses, you have to rank them from 1 – 4 or 1-3. Number 1 is for the course you want to attend the most and number 3 and 4 is for your last choice. I hope you get the idea.
Luckily, I got into every course I wanted to be in.
Every semester, there are many cases of fellow students being unsatisfied with the group they were assigned to. That’s when our semester’s Facebook group usually turns to a really messy place where everyone wants to trade their courses for another one. However, the exchange of courses has to be approved by our Japanese language teachers, who will ask for the reason first. Usually, the only legitimate reason for them is a clash between two different courses the student has to attend. Yet, there will still be people who will try to get into a different course because of other reasons, which can be ridiculous sometimes.
It is quite understandable that you want to be together with your friends. I mean, who doesn’t want that? Everyone wants to have their friends at their side. That’s the problem. You can’t fulfill everyone’s wishes.
Nobody will mind you asking for a trade. You will probably even find a person who is willing to trade. As long as you don’t tell everyone that you won’t have any friends in class otherwise. You imply that you don’t have the intention to get along with other people. That you can’t work with other people, unless they are your friends. All in all, it will leave behind a bad impression and people will see you as childish and egoistic. It is certainly not wrong to ask, but you have to keep in mind what kind of power social media websites have. Nowadays you really have to think carefully about the things you write online and how people will interpret it. First, many people will see your post and second, even if you delete it, they won’t forget and they will talk. It may even affect the way they will treat you when they meet you in real life.
This was just supposed to be a little advice you can keep in mind if you want to.
So now I am going back to explaining my schedule to you.
It is really nice that you get to arrange your schedule yourself. It is completely different from my former university, where my schedule was completely packed some days.
The way I arranged my schedule the first semester allows me to finish and return home early (with some exceptions) which I was really grateful for, even if I have to stand up early every day, which is really a pain (but it is worth mentioning that I get to sleep longer than when I was enrolled in the other university and when I get home early, I still have time to sleep).
Therefore, every day of my new semester started with some Japanese language!
I got to know many new people. They were easier to befriend with than most of the people at my old university. I think I mentioned this in another post already.
The girl I am sitting with at the table during class came all the way from Austria. She is younger than me by two years and I think we get along well. It is easy and fun to work with her, which I am really grateful for, since we usually need a partner during many speaking and reading exercises. I really don’t want to speak badly about people who may need a bit longer to understand the tasks, but since I already have some experience, it is better to have someone who is on the same language level as you. It is easier to move forward and to learn from each other. Now I have a little circle of friends I got to know during the first days of university. It is really fun to hang out with them.
Next, I want to tell you about the things we learn and I will talk about each lesson. This way you can get an idea of what a week looks like.
What I love about this course is that the teachers will upload a weekly schedule every week. This way you will know exactly what you will learn during each lesson and what you have to prepare for the lessons.
These are the books we work with.
Monday begins with grammar and communication practices. You have to prepare the vocabulary of the latest chapter and do the exercises.
There will be papers you have to work on at home and hand in after the lessons (marked in red in the weekly schedule). Our teachers will correct our papers and return them the next days. When they finish with your paper they will mark them with a cute stamp. The Pikachu stamp is very popular among us students and somehow it keeps us motivated. It is really fun.
The grammar and communication practices continue until Wednesday and you have to continue to learn your vocabulary every day, especially because you need them during the lessons.
The writing and reading practices takes place on Thursday. We practice the Chinese characters, Kanji, during this lesson. We learn 11 characters every Thursday. First, we practice writing them and then we read some simple texts to understand their meaning better.
The grammar of the new chapters is taught on Friday. We work on the theory and practice with the help of examples.
This is what a week approximately looks like. If you want to know more, you can always ask me.
I can say that it was one of my few good decisions I made, to study in this university, especially this subject. The people I meet are great and the teachers are very capable and organized.
Since we study “Modernes Japan”, the students are called “Mojas” and I don’t know why, but it seems that we can “sense” our fellow students who study the same, even if we don’t know them. It’s really funny sometimes and another typical thing we “Mojas” do, is talking about food. We always talk about food. It is like we can’t go 5 minutes without mentioning food. Students of the other faculties usually go drinking after exams, but we celebrate by going to a Japanese restaurant to eat sushi or ramen and then, for dessert, we get matcha ice cream. That is something I also like very much about our group because I don’t drink alcohol, and I am happy that the others can also enjoy themselves without alcohol, too.
This was a little insight into my life, studying Japanese in a university. Maybe I will talk about it from time to time again. If you want to know more about a particular subject, you can always message me. Until then, I will of course write about other things that come to my mind.