Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura is a member of the Class of 2015 pursuing a double major in Politics and East Asian Studies. During the spring semester 2014, he studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. He also volunteered with refugees in francophone Belgium for his sophomore Winter Term.
As a half-Japanese American, I always wanted to learn my father’s language. Prior to matriculating at Oberlin, I knew that I wanted to take Japanese courses and, if possible, study in Japan. Oberlin’s Japanese department thoroughly prepared me for a semester of unforgettable experiences abroad: jazz in the streets of Osaka, treks to holy mountains, and half-day train rides to visit my Japanese relatives, to name a few.
Coming from Oberlin, classes abroad were fairly easy. However, my language courses helped me make steady gains through consistent drills, homework, and interesting discussion topics. Moreover, my time with a loving Japanese host family put those improvements to use and showed me how to better connect with my own Japanese kin. As I look past my senior year I anticipate returning to Japan, which in many ways does not feel like a foreign country. Rather, it is one more place in the world that I call home.