July 3, 2018

My TIU: Tyler from Canada

Since TIU's English Track Program began in 2014, the university has seen a considerable growth to its international student body. One of our current freshmen reached out to us recently to let us know that he would like to share some of his experiences with students from all over the world. This is Tyler's story.

Tyler Toic, a current freshman at TIU originally from Kelowna, British Columbia, has a calling to see the world. He arrived at TIU's doorstep upon globetrotting through much of East Asia, pining for a way to truly immerse himself in a new and interesting culture for the long-term. Since his arrival less than a year ago, he has already deeply immersed himself with the local community, and has limitless aspiration. However, not all is earned without sincere effort. He feels that there are three core sources of challenge to overcome as an international student in Japan: language, academic, and social.

While being abroad students must adjust to many different aspects of Japanese lifestyle - the most notorious being language. Tyler says, the methodical process of attaining a comfortable level of Japanese takes serious effort on behalf of the students overseas, which can then snowball and affect other aspects of life. To quote a concept from cross cultural studies expert Jia-Yan Pan, host language proficiency 'not only influences the academic work of international students but also affects their social lives and understanding of the host culture,' (Pan et al, 2008). While courses at TIU are provided entirely in English, we must still study Japanese intensively in order to fully assimilate to daily life in a new culture as well as to prepare for our future careers.

He continues to explain, International Universities hold vast amounts of diversity since they are home to many different nationalities of students from across the world. With diversity comes strength, however, on the other hand, with such variety in cultural background, conflicts and differences of opinion are imminent. Being able to accept opinions and views from different cultures is a valuable skill to hone, and one that Japanese universities are beginning to put more attention onto in this day and age.

One of the ways Tyler strives to overcome these challenges is through sports and culture clubs at TIU. He is currently active in the American Football varsity team, and joins the basketball club practices for fun casually.

Sports has always been an integral aspect of my life. I have been playing football for as long as I can remember, and I actually played for a year on my old college team back in Canada. The fact that TIU had a football team was a huge motivating factor for me when I was choosing universities. However, upon arrival I was so bogged down with stressors of assimilating to my new life that I wasn't sure if I could handle another time commitment on top of my already hectic schedule. In the end, I decided to push through, and it has since led to many new friends who I would have never met otherwise, as well as provided me with a great venue to use Japanese outside of the classroom and really feel at home with my new environment. Even though I still can't understand all of the words my teammates say around me, we have learned to communicate with each other. I know they have my back and they have become my true friends.

Another way Tyler has really taken root in his new environment is through working a part-time job as a physical education English teacher for children.

Honestly, I couldn't think of a more rewarding experience. It feels so good to teach these kids not only about physical education, but also about communication and life. I never thought I'd be able to find a job like this here in Japan, but here I am. Not only am I giving back to the community, but I am also earning priceless work experience for my career. Having said that, there are so many other things I still want to share with people. When I was growing up in Kelowna, British Columbia, my friends and I would often go on day trips to the nearby forests to adventure and explore. We'd make fires to cook food on, and sometimes even bring tents to stay the night in. I would like to bring this idea to the local community because the majority of people are so attached to the city lifestyle and haven't been able to experience the bliss that is being absolutely disconnected from all stressors.

Of course, there are other passions in Tyler's life, including making informational videos with his friends on YouTube. Be on the lookout for more content from Tyler, as we are sure he will be coming back soon to share more about life as a TIU student!