Cleo Yang '13

winner of Jackie Blair Seibert '85 Japanese Award

Mount Holyoke has given me great support throughout my journey of learning Japanese.

Before I came into Mount Holyoke as a springie, I worried about not being able to join the second semester of the First Year Japanese course. After I reached out to Professor Nemoto, she enthusiastically replied to me with lots of information which would help me catch up through self-teaching. Even though my grammar was terrible when I finally arrived on campus and did a placement test, the professor had trusted me to join the class and do well.

Taking a language course which meets at the golden hour 5 days a week isn’t easy to do. Because I know stopping taking this language even for one semester is detrimental to this whole study journey, I have to make changes to my schedule in order to fit the Japanese meeting time. However, it will never be possible if the professors in my Economics major’s department don’t offer me the flexibility in course choosing. I think that the respect, trust and support given by professors are the whole essence of education in Mount Holyoke.

Beyond learning in class, the Asian Studies Department also allows us to request for a tutor who can work with me beyond the material covered in class. My experience with my tutor and Language Table every week, greatly improved my speaking and my knowledge beyond the textbook.

I resolve to master Japanese and I’m still on my way.