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Teresa Algoso

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Teresa Algoso
Teresa Algoso
Which course are you studying in?

I'm studying in the Academic Intensive Japanese Program.

What were you doing before you came to Yamasa?

I was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I was studying electrical engineering and Japanese.

Did you start as a beginner?

No I started at Intermediate level, in E class. I was at the lower end of the class as my kanji level and conversation level was below the class average at the beginning of the quarter, but I moved up towards the average over the next 2 months. Most of the students had been there longer than I so I had some catching up to do.

Where did you study Japanese before?

At MIT for 3 years. I did 4 hours a week for 2 years and then 3 hours a week last year. But there are only 30 weeks of classes per year. We studied using a book written in Romaji - the Jordan texts. It was useful for grammar but then I really struggled with reading when I came to Yamasa.

How long have you been at Yamasa now?

Its been 9 months since I started. I haven't left Japan during that time

Is this the first time you have lived in Japan?

Yes - I had visited Tokyo for 3 days some 2 years ago. So this is the first long term stay.

What are you plans after graduation?

I'm planning on going to gradschool at UCLA to study East Asian languages and cultures.

Teresa Algoso
In Aoi Hall
Where are you living at the moment?

I'm in one of the Yamasa Villa I Studio Apartments. A single.

What is your accommodation like?

I was a bit cold in the winter as I'm used to central heating, but its very convenient, very comfortable and affordable. I brought my 2 cats with me - they are both house cats and everything worked out fine.

How do you get to classes?

I walk each morning. It takes me about 12 minutes.

What is the biggest challenge or problem you've faced so far in Japan?

Just getting out and exploring, trying all the new things. Getting over my shyness.

Any surprises you would like to share?

Yes, on the one hand I've been surprised by the overwhelming friendliness many Japanese will show me. And the way they will go out of their way to assist friends. But at the same time I'm surprised by the xenophobia sometimes. Its something I haven't fully understood yet.

If a new student was entering your class today and asked for some advice, what would you say?

I think its important to get out and try doing activities you normally wouldn't try. I don't travel much in the USA, but I went up to Iwate prefecture last week. I tried Shuji as well. I guess the most important thing is to make the most of friendships.

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