By Lucca Bey
I’m Lucca, I’m a 16 year old, black, trans dude, who, until last year, only knew two languages, Chinese and English. I had discovered Japanese Plus through my school, and I vibed with it immediately.
In the beginning, I truly didn’t have an idea to which extent the Japanese Plus program was going to have an impact on me. Though this is primarily a Japanese language learning program, the language and culture are intrinsically connected, and thus, we ended up learning a great deal of both. Japanese Plus really opened my eyes to how foreign, yet closely connected we are globally. Even though they’re completely different places, the similarities with Chinese culture, Japanese culture, and American culture were a huge surprise to me, and the differences and new concepts we learned about drew me in.
It felt a bit like an immersion experience as we got to experience first-hand Japanese culture inside of our own city. Through the enriching events that we attended to the guest speakers in our class, it really widened my perspective and taught me that Japanese cultural experiences are so much more than just Kimonos and Sushi.
A lot of the speakers we had in the program even exposed me to how valued a global education and vantage point are in both college and career settings. Seeing all these great people talk about how excited they were at the opportunity to have us study abroad in Japan, and how many colleges are more than happy to have students who spoke and understood another language, gave me this revelation.
In short, this program helped me diversify my mindset, and taught me the value of a global education. I am more grateful for this experience than I can put into words.