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May 29, 2007



Great interview!

As IUC sounds like a very high-level school, there's one thing I'm curious about. I've often heard that in langauge schools, Asian students (especially Chinese and Korean) seem to have an edge in the classroom compared to students of Western descent. For example, Korean students have better pronunciation and the Chinese students have no problems with kanji.

How true (or false) is this at IUC?
Any other related experiences such as "Wow, that French guy is insanely good!"?

Also, if you're interested in delving into the mysteries of kun-yomi, I highly recommend taking the Kanji Kentei. There's no better way to learn the secrets!!


When I was in Nanzan, it was obvious that the Korean students had the upper hand in terms of fluency and grammar, while the Chinese kids could destroy us all in Kanji and vocab. IUC though, is somewhat a different environment.

IUC is run by Stanford, and has hooks with many US and Canadian Universities. So, most of the students at IUC are in the middle of a Masters or PHD from one of these institutions, and attend IUC to brush up their Japanese, or to bring it to the level they need in order to be able to do their research.

For some reason, there is an extremely LOW number of native East Asian students attending... I am not a graduate student so I don't have much insight into this... But in our class of 49, there are a few 2nd generation Japanese, a few American born Taiwanese and Chinese... But that's about it. There is one Taiwanese student who lived in Japan for a year while in high school so has good conversational Japanese abilities, and the Kanji witting ability is accelerated by the Taiwanese background... But it's not a -huge- difference.

Could it be that East Asian students who study Japanese just don't continue their studies at the graduate level? Or, maybe they get so good they don't -need- to continue at the graduate level? Or maybe there is not a need to bring their language abilities beyond conversational level? Or maybe it's the sheer cost of attending IUC that keeps students from East Asia out? Maybe the academic twist at IUC is not what East Asian language learners are after?

I really don't know...
But they're just not here.

In a few weeks the final presentation topics from our year will be on the IUC official website. If you read through the names, you can get an idea of the Asian to Westerner ratio.

Hope that some how answers your question!

- Harvey

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