School 1.0

As promised I would discuss how school is going here. After completing my full second week or maybe third, I don't know I'm losing track of time here...I'm comfortable saying that I know how the rest of the semester will go. Temple definitely has it's down sides, but it also has a lot MCAD couldn't offer even if it tried.

Academically, I definitely prefer MCAD's teaching approach, but after talking to several other current study abroaders I think its just that MCAD has a very unique teaching style that isn't often replicated. Gone are the weekly or bi-weekly assignments that are left to the student to be creative with and present to the class with whatever innovative idea they came up with, instead I'm writing seven page papers on International Marketing Operations and reading Clifford Geertz twice a week. Now don't get me wrong if you enjoy anthropology or sociology at all as I do you'll love the Japanese Ideology class I'm taking, but reading Clifford Geertz is a much different teaching style compared to most of MCAD. I have no doubt I will walk away from Temple learning possibly more than I have any other semester in my college career, but it won't be completely book smarts

In the three weeks I've been in Japan, I've come to realize this will be one of the single most important times of my life. Both in school and day to day life teaches me something new every day. Within the first 12 hours of me leaving the ground in Chicago it already started to become an extremely humbling adventure. Going into a world where you are 100% without a doubt the foreigner within a fraction of a second of someone seeing you makes you think about how people feel coming to the states. On the plane I thought I was absolutely positive I knew how to say "can I have chopsticks please", but instead of the chopsticks I only got a confused young Japanese flight stewardess. My response was one of embarrassment and a kick to my self esteem in speaking the language again. Obviously since then I've learned how to say "おはしおねがいします” with confidence whenever I'm lacking a set of chopsticks, but its still one of the most powerful moments I've experienced since I've left the states. To tie that back into Temple, I work with Japanese students of varying levels of English confidence everyday. I learn a little Japanese from them and they learn a little English from me. It really allows you to look at yourself and your culture from a completely new perspective.

Overall I'd say Temple is great for:
  • Self reflection
  • Learning to adapt
  • Seeing how another culture does business
  • Finding the finer points of asian culture, specifically Japanese
What Temple could work on:
  • Project based learning
  • Mutual agreement to emphasize learning before memorizing between all professors
To be fair, I realize that this isn't a tiny art school with many like-minded individuals and teaching in a strict academic style rather than organic conversational style is much easier on the professors. Its also much more akin to Japanese style schools. Out in the rest of the world this is a very common teaching method which has its pros and cons; I'm just used to MCAD's. Without hesitation, I'd still very much recommend this school to anyone who asked.

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