Archive for May, 2010

NTUT and Gallaudet

May 27, 2010

Hey everybody! I am at my internship in Japan, and I thought I would tell you a little bit about the differences between Gallaudet and Tsukuba University of Technology.

The academic culture is a little different here. In the US, it is usually easy to get into a college or university, but you have to work hard to graduate. In Japan, it is very hard to get in, but once you are in, you will definitely graduate. As a result, classes seem more laid back than at Gallaudet, and students chat with each other a lot of the time. Side conversations are not tolerated at US universities! It’s easy for an American to observe these classes and say “those students aren’t learning anything” but I think it is just a different academic culture. When students answer homework questions, they are almost always right! So they are learning, but in a different way.

Gallaudet is very strongly sign-oriented; there are oral people who talk, but everybody signs as well. NTUT is very much a mix of communication styles. Not all students are fluent in JSL; there is a class (similar to Gallaudet’s NSP) for students who need more JSL exposure. Some hearing teachers sim-com, and call out to students rather than waving to get their attention. Of course teachers know who can hear them and who can’t, but it is very strange to me to be at a deaf university with so much talking! I don’t speak any Japanese, so I am not doing much talking at all. I did give a short presentation today, and the teacher doesn’t have very good ASL skills, so I used sim-com and she interpreted my speech into JSL for the students. My throat hurt after that because I never talk here!

Most of the staff here is hearing, there are only a few deaf people who work at NTUT. At Gallaudet the faculty has a much greater percentage of deaf members, and there are deaf staff as well. When I see two adults walking around talking to each other, I know they’re hearing. At Gallaudet, even hearing people usually sim-com to each other!

Classes here are 90 minutes, and there is 10 minutes “passing time” between classes. Classes start at 8:50am and the last ends at 6:00pm, I believe, though not everybody has classes in every slot.

They don’t have a wide variety of majors here. Gallaudet has a few dozen programs to choose from, but NTUT has two: synthetic design, and industrial information. You can read details of the programs here.

Only a few students do not wear some type of hearing device. Most wear BTE hearing aids, and just like at Gallaudet, they come in a range of colors, sizes, and styles. A surprising number of students wear ITE hearing aids, the kind that fill the shell of the ear and are usually skin colored. (Except Japanese skin is not the same color as Caucasian skin, so it’s a little off.) There are very few ITE wearers at Gallaudet…I have only seen a few. Here there are many more. Conversely, only a few students here wear CI’s, and many more wear them at Gallaudet – or at least have had the surgery, even if they’re not wearing the device! (Then again, maybe it is just easier to tell at Gallaudet because of Bald Day every year?)

I am really loving my time at NTUT and I am learning JSL as fast as I can. It’s funny though, when I sign “thank you,” in my head I say “thank you” and not “arigato.” I’ll write more soon!

Curtain Call!

May 9, 2010

Wow! My freshman year just finished its’ final act! It has been a great year with some loop-de-loops, It would not be possible without 4 great mentors! First one is Dr. Jane Norman who welcomed me to the crazy world affectionally known as Gallaudet, the second one is JMAC, a great third year guy who I have known since forever, helped me navigate the crazy game of Life. The third one is of course my academic advisor, Willy Conley, who encouraged me to think big and try new things! The fourth one has been a huge impact on me, without him, I would never have realized my true passion and I constantly learn a lot from him, as a drector and professor, Ethan Sinnott, one of my favorite quote of his, “Why not?! Go for it!” He pushes me to do my best! Cannot wait to continue my journey with him!

Reflecting…

May 8, 2010

Hi there!

It’s currently the end of finals week here at Gallaudet University, so that means a lot of students are heading home. I’m heading back home to Minnesota, where there is actually still snow. It will be quite a change from the 80 degree weather we’re having in DC.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that this semester has been the best and worst semester for me so far. It was the worst semester because my dog died, and I was not able to go home before he was put to sleep. I also lost all motivation to do any homework whatsoever and had some serious doubts about my major. But I’ve also enjoyed this semester. I’ve made so many new friends, I’ve participated in so many new experiences, and I had fun, lots of fun, and I figure that is important.

I was previously double majoring in English and Secondary Education, as you see in my brief biography on the gblog home page next to a ridiculously old picture of me. But as I got immersed into the world of Secondary Education, I realized it was not really what I wanted to do. I just did not have the passion for teaching as so many of my Secondary Education classmates did. I have a lot more passion for writing and literature and I decided to roll with it. I’d rather be happy with my major even though the job prospects might not be very good, than to be utterly bored with my major even though there are excellent job prospects, as is the case with teaching. So, I dropped my Secondary Education major, I’m still majoring in English and next semester will add Communication Studies as a second major, possibly photography as a minor.

This means I will be graduating late, of course, but that doesn’t really bother me. There are so many opportunities here that I haven’t taken advantage of, so I’m definitely not ready to graduate in May 2011, as I was supposed to.

I’ve seen this happen to a lot of my friends, who are called “old farts” because they’ve been here for six years, bouncing from major to major, trying to figure out what it is they want to do in life. It’s a hard decision, and I don’t blame them one bit. While it is great to go to college immediately after high school, it doesn’t really help if you have no idea what career you are interested in. So my one piece of advice to you, dear readers, is to gain experience in the fields you think you might be interested in, so you’ll have a better sense of what you like and what you don’t like about that field, which will make choosing a major easier.

So, have a great summer! Good luck with everything, and remember, I’m always here if you’ve got a question, I will also try to update this blog  a few times throughout the summer.

Cheers,

Heather

My Summer Internship

May 5, 2010

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this already! Prepare yourself for lots of posts from me this summer, telling you all about my internship in Japan!

Originally, the internship was for someone else, but that person was unable to do it. So the Career Center asked my major department (Deaf Studies) for nominations. I was one of three names submitted, and I got the internship!

My first reaction was that stuff like this never happens to me, because I don’t seek it out. If you want something, you have to go get it! But I don’t, so I just stay home most of the time. Well, this one fell in my lap, so I’m going to Japan!

I will be tutoring deaf Japanese college students in English and ASL, and they will teach me Japanese Sign Language (JSL). I have the movie “I Love You” so I have watched that, and so far I can say deaf, hearing, what?, and yes. That’s it! So I am going to a country where I don’t speak the language, and it will be quite an adventure!

I leave on May 13th, a week from tomorrow. NEXT-WEEK THURSDAY oh wow! I will be sure to keep everybody posted!

Last week of every academic year

May 3, 2010

I gotta confess something about the last week of every academic year. During the academic year I would work hard to maintain good grades and a high GPA; however, it is always a guarantee that all the burning motivation inside me gets completely flamed out by the last week of each academic year. It is like every time I see the shining light at the end of the tunnel, I automatically give up. Nearly every body I know goes through that.

Sadly I have two essays due tomorrow, and I haven’t begun them. Do not take me wrong; I actually work my ass off, but it is just that the last week is always painful for me. All Gallaudetians who live on the campus always scramble to find a place to keep their stuff through the summer. All of us race to clean our rooms, pack our stuff, finish our final projects, type down essays at the crack of the dawn, and drink a lot of energy drinks. That is exactly why I hate the last week of school.

Six days left of being a sophomore.