Welcoming “Changes”「変化」を受け入れる


Tension and flex and awareness are key to bring your communication ability to the next level



I have found that Japanese people tend to avoid taking risks when it comes to using English. What if people don’t understand me, I would rather be quiet than make mistakes, it’s embarrassing to use imperfect sentences. Keeping up appearances in front of unfamiliar faces is a default. We set such high expectations of ourselves, and hesitation in speaking English becomes an extra barrier. Ironically, we have the same expectations of others and unconsciously judge their standard of language. By building this defensive wall of hesitancy around us, we unknowingly miss opportunities for great encounters.



I have seen countless students transformed after study abroad regardless of the length of stay. You rarely encounter things drastically different or new when you carry on your routine life in Japan. Changes come the moment you set your foot in foreign lands. The new environment will not let you remain as you are. Even though the airports around the world look relatively the same, my body tenses slightly when I travel to a new country. Am I in the correct exit queue, not transit? Have I missed the immigration sign? I hope that the officers won’t ask me strange questions. Do I know the route to my accommodation? If this is your daily commute, you can get by the most complicated metro transfers leaving half of your brain in autopilot. Unknown territory gives you a constant element of difference that makes you flex your mental muscles – your awareness level is switched to capture motions, words and subtle body language. This tension and flex and awareness are key to bring your communication ability to the next level.





Satoko Churchill