ONE HEART, ONE SPIRIT, TO INSPIRE
“Never give up learning, no matter how old you are.”
The above sentence really suits me a lot, I suppose, for I am the 3rd oldest student in the class out of 16 students. Hiks! Half of the students in this Intensive Course are master degree students. They just graduated from for their bachelor degree in their country and directly continuing their study here, while the rest students are the Teacher Training trainees –who are 3-6 years younger than me, and there’s also a research student. Why did I just know about this program last year while I could have tried getting more information about scholarships far ahead before last year? Hmhh, okay, there’s nothing to regret now, just go on with the ones you have in your life, Ina. Be more thankful to your Creator! Yosh! Will do!
Anyway, in spite of the age factor above, I actually really AM grateful to get a chance studying here at Hiroshima University. Oh, by the way, let me have a short introduction about myself first. I am Ina Lestari. Ina is just okay to call me. I am an English Teacher at a private elementary school in South Jakarta and have been teaching there since July 2004 up to present (they give me 1,5 years permission to be off duty since I am here now). So how did I end up being here now? Hehe! I bet you have known why. Yups! I’m of those 22 Indonesian teachers who are sent here to learn more about education in Japan granted by Monbukagakusho MEXT for Teacher Training Program 2014. Why Hiroshima University (in Japanese: Hiroshima Daigaku – Hirodai)? Why didn’t I choose another more famous university in Japan? Well, frankly speaking, I chose Hirodai because I really (I mean, REALLY) wanted to see the A-bomb dome located in Hiroshima city. It’s such a famous city with its World War II historical background that I’m very sure everybody knows it. That’s the first reason.
The second reason is because –after knowing that I passed the written test, I browsed the virtual world (read: internet) and found this TT blog and spent much time reading and learning the tips and so forth about TT, and… taa daa!! I found out that there has been quite a number of Indonesian teachers joined this program and chose Hirodai. Thus, I was actually expecting that there would be some people from the same program choosing this university that by the time I arrived here I could have someone to talk and share about simple to really serious matters everyday (note: from the same country). Despite of my expectation, which was really too much, then, zannen (read: too bad) I ended up to be the only participant from Indonesia for this program. Hahaa! 😀 Though so, I am lucky cause I still have my senpais (seniors) who are so much in help even since like a month or two before my departure. I asked them many questions here and there about Hirodai and made no mistake in choosing this university. (Sorry for such bothersome time back then Esta and Nisa senpais. Hontouni arigatou gozaimashita!). Hirodai is such a very convenient place to learn. I attend classes in the Faculty of Education, Higashihiroshima Campus everyday (there’s another campus of Hirodai called Kasumi Campus in Hiroshima City where the Medical Faculty is) located in Higashihiroshima city. Another luck I got is, there are 7 more trainees from other countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and China that join this program. Furthermore, unexpectedly, there is a large number of Indonesian students in this campus who are taking their Master and Doctoral degrees and there’re also some research students. So, I am not alone, really. In fact, I’m having great, life time here, learning many things that had never crossed my mind before I came here, with new people around me. 😉 Ahh, I almost forgot to tell you that surprisingly (I didn’t figure it out before coming here because the only reasons for me choosing this campus is only the two above), Hirodai has now become the best in Education and Marine among other universities in Japan. So that’s another bonus for me choosing this university. Yokatta!
Well, now let’s get back to the topic. When you are finally accepted in any university that you choose for this TT program, you’re going to attend a 6-month-intensive course before you start your research. For me, personally, I started learning Japanese 2-3 months before going here. I started to learn hiragana and katakana as a basic knowledge cause they said it’d be helpful if you learn those two writings ahead before you learn Japanese here. It’s true though. It helped me a lot when I started attending the classes cause learning Japanese in Intensive Course means that you really (I mean: REALLY) learn so, very, absolutely, completely FAST cause there’re lots of things you have to learn within such a short time (though it’s just the basic of Japanese). Even from the very first meeting, Fukami sensei (the coordinator of this course) told us that this course would be even MUCH speedier than SHINKANSEN. Hahaa! Which means, to catch up with it, you should review the lessons you’ve learned everyday on your own afterwards so that you won’t forget what you’ve learnt (which I seldom do actually, due to my laziness , but please don’t copy my bad habit. Hehee!). I’ve got uncountable, lots, takusan knowledge in this course, from Japanese grammar, kanji characters, reading, listening, Japanese culture through movies (my favorite lesson that I always looked forward every week, with Imaishi sensei), and cross-cultural understanding lesson where you can discuss about culture habits from different countries. The classes start at 9.30 am and finish at 4.20 pm from Monday to Friday. Tiring? Not at all if you have lots of so much fun and caring people around you. Even the senseis are always kind and very helpful when teaching us Japanese. The way they teach us are so encouraging, we don’t feel stressful though lots of new things concerning Japanese to learn. They also make jokes and very GOOD at drawing pictures. I said they, means the whole senseis are really good at drawing which makes learning more fun (even for me as an adult, I like it to see those drawings. I think I should do it often when teaching the students back in my place. Hehee!).
When there’s a learning process, certainly there’s an evaluation. So, I also had a quiz to do each week. So, it’s a regular grammar and kanji quiz, plus a mid-exam in the beginning of December and final exam at the end of February.
Oh, there’s another more. In this course, my friends and I also had field trips to the nearby places where we could learn and figure out new facts about Hiroshima city and its culture. The 1st place we went to is (of course) the A-bomb dome and some museums and Hiroshima castle. It was so much fun cause it’s the first time all of us went together after almost 2 months studying in the class. We went there by train and met up with our sensei at Hiroshima station (we started from Saijo station). Then, we also visited Miyajima island and Mazda factory company for the 2nd and 3rd field trips.
Being a ryuugakusei (foreign student) in Hirodai means you’ll also get a Japanese host family. All Japanese people who become the host families of ryuugakusei are very generous, kind and caring as my Okaasan is one of those. I’ve had a chance to stay for a night at her house and know how a Japanese family is. She also took me to an event where I had much experience about Japanese culture which is a really priceless experience for me.
At the end of the course, there’s a Japanese speech that we have to deliver, about any topic for five minutes, followed by the closing ceremony of the course and the certificate giving. After all of those classes I’ve attended during Intensive Course (October-March), I can continue taking Japanese classes in April, but, it’ll be the class that all ryuugakusei will also take, and it’s not a compulsory class –though I surely will continue taking Japanese classes while I’m learning here.
Well, after all the 6 months learning I have through, then I just realized that time does fly so quickly. I really have had so much fun learning and having fun with my classmates in and out of the classes as well as with our senseis. For us, even we have made a promise to still keep in touch even later in April we won’t be really together again as we have always been until this February. Sore jaa, mata atode minna…. Itsuka aimashouka? Yosh! Ganbarimashou!
Teacher Training 2014