English is one of the most known languages in the world. I learned English and Japanese at the same time. As I grow up, there were years I felt English is my strongest language compared to Japan however, there were also other years I felt Japanese is my first language as well. Still yet, I am very confused which language is my mother tongue. Today, I want to share 2 events that I engaged different culture and the strategy I used to communicate effectively: Cheerleading and Cambodia Trip.
As I started doing cheerleading outside of school and started to spend more time outside of school with my Japanese friends, I started to think Japanese is easier to speak. I started cheerleading in 4th grade and I had a huge impression of me being really quite and not communicating very well in Japanese. I always needed to use hand a lot of gesture to communicate and use English and Japanese together to communicate with my coaches. However, as I started to grow up and started to use Japanese more than usual, I automatically developed my Japanese because I started to spend more time in Japan with my Japanese cheerleading friends, which allowed me to develop my Japanese skills. My coach has told me how fluent I became in speaking and started to learn difficult vocabulary. My Japanese level has also shown in my Japanese class, using lots of Kanji and reading fluently. Thus, this was a year when I thought my mother tongue was Japanese as I felt more Japanese but personality wise I felt American.
Currently, I feel more international student. As I stopped spending time with my cheerleading friends, I started to feel very equal. Not only that, I feel more comfortable using both languages since I have words I cannot explain in Japanese and sometimes cannot explain in Engish. Yet, even though I feel international, my mother tongue is slightly closer to English.
Furthermore, I would like to share an event from my Cambodia service trip. Cambodia Service trip has impacted me on how I see the world but also the culture differences. Our- YIS students- the job was to build schools for the children in Cambodia. The Kids in Cambodia took their time on their education to help us out to build their elementary school. As we needed to use our communication skills to collaborate, talking in English has never stopped me. I learned that even though they may not know the meaning of the sentences, some kids may be an auditory learner. but the people who are Visual learner I started to point objects out and using gestures to communicate. As a group, we taught them the song Head, shoulders, knees and toes. This allows psychical movement and it is a folk song. Since children music is very catchy and easy to remember, we thought it would be fun and easy to memorize. Moreover, the kids have a lot of motivation to learn English. This is the Social cognitive theory. People can learn things by observing and not only experiences and this is through one aspect of motivation. This allows kids in Cambodia to learn things faster, therefore this is why one of my strategies was to use a lot of English to learn the sound of words and used gestures to understand the context or an object.
There are other times I felt Intercultural such as translating English to Japanese for my parents and learning new languages. In addition, understanding other peoples’ culture. But these 2 events/time has shown a strong memory in my life who I am and how I could communicate with others.