The very first step of "Making" friends.
The desire to interact in with people, culture and language to which you may be new; the ability to step out of your comfort zone; the will to make mistakes and learn from them.
All ICU students have already demonstrated some kind of motivation. The OYR students came from other countries because they wanted to study in Japan. April and September students passed rigorous entrance exams because they chose to attend ICU, a school with an international atmosphere.
Motivation is the most important factor in overcoming differences and barriers and creating friends outside one's native language/culture. Motivation allows you to continue learning even during setbacks, allows absorption of criticism and the ability to overcome of mistakes. Learning a new culture and meeting people in a new culture is often all about mistakes and learning, and without motivation, the setbacks can easily kill the energy required to interact in a new environment.
Examples / Actual Cases
When I first entered ICU, I didn't know anyone - I felt so alone, because there was no
friends that I could hang out with. I was so motivated and wanted to make friends, but
it was hard. JLP class was too small. However, other classes were too big (since I was taking
GE classes), and those classes were almost all individual work. There was no "出会い",
a chance to meet someone. Even if I met many other September students, I didn't get a
chance to meet OYR students and April students. There wasn't an opportunity
to meet people, which was a problem. (continues on to "solution")
My friend in Canada, who is initially from Hong Kong, loves Japanese movies and cars.
He has never studied in Japan, however, his Japanese is soo good because he learns Japanese from watching
movies and he eagers to speak Japanese to Japanese people.
I think this is because he is highly motivated by falling in love with Japanese movies, cars and probably girls lol
Well, many people at ICU wants OYR students, I think. However, the thing is... they are not thaaat motivated.
Their motivation is not as high as using their free time making effort and embarassing themselves by being rejected.
I mean, Japanese people tend to think like...
Well,,, the girl sitting beside me seems like OYR students... I want to get to know her...
but... what if I get ignored or annoyed!? isn't is embarassing??
and... she might not a OYR student. Should I talk to her in Japanese or English??
Would it be rude if I ask her where she is from.. because I heard it would be in some culture...
Alright... just forget it....
so... for Japanese students... they have to be really really motivated to talk to strangers.
its like jumping out from the window...
Solution / Recommendation / Suggestion etc.
- court (this needs revision)
A little encouragement and motivation go a long way. Japanese language students need to find motivation in to speak in Japanese even when everyone in the immediate environment, ICU, can speak English. For example, joining a club or finding a boyfriend/girlfriend where the activities/relationships are conducted in your foreign language are excellent motivating factors.