In my second last year of a business degree at University of Manitoba I needed to pick some electives. Up until that point most of my classes were all accounting and finance related. I decided to give my brain a break and take something completely unrelated to accounting in any way.
In my first attempt at University I took a film studies course that I thoroughly enjoyed. First stop in the course guide – film studies. All of the courses I wanted were full or unavailable. History was another interest of mine, and I noticed a listing for History of Capitalism and History of Communism. Both of these courses were also unavailable.
At this point I started randomly flipping through the course guide to see if I could get any ideas. I happened to stop in the language section. Two courses that caught my attention were Intro to Japanese and Intro to Cantonese. I briefly considered into to Cantonese due to my love of Jackie Chan movies. However, my interest in anime, video games and technology pushed me in the direction of Intro to Japanese. This turned out to be one of the best choices I made in University.
My Intro Japanese course was a full year course starting at the very basics – hiragana and katakana. The class started with about 40 people and 15 dropped out within the first few weeks. In the end there were about 15 Chinese students, 5 Koreans and 5 pasty white Canadians like me. The Chinese students had a big advantage when we started learning kanji because they were already familiar. The Koreans had a big advantage with pronunciation because there are very similar sounds in both languages. Everything was new for me, so the class presented a big challenge.
By the end of the year Intro Japanese was one of my favourite courses because it was a challenge and so different from my other courses. My good experience in the class got me interested in learning more Japanese and the possibility of travelling or teaching in Japan in the future. From randomly flipping through the course guide, I ended up having one of the best adventures of my life.