Jordan Gonzalez: Senior with a Love for Japan

Meet Jordan Gonzalez, a senior Self Designed Japanese and Linguistics major from Columbus, Mansfield, NJ. Jordan has always been fascinated with the Japanese culture and one day dream to live there. At the start of his TCNJ experience, Jordan majored in Criminology and then changed his major to Journalism. After hearing his coworker mention her self designed major, Jordan did more research on that option offered here at TCNJ. He wanted to combine his love for the Japanese culture with linguistics. With the help of his professors, Jordan was able to declare his new Japanese and Linguistics. Jordan hopes to work as a bridge between Japanese companies looking to expand into English markets or work at Starbucks International.

Throughout the summer and fall semester, Jordan studied abroad in Japan, where he learned a lot about the Japanese culture. The academic scene is fairly different than TCNJ’s. “In Japan I was taking language classes. It wasn’t like a typical college experience. We would take a class three hours a day. On Saturday’s we took a cultural class for one hour and after, we would take a field trip to Tokyo.” According to Jordan, Japan’s academics are more intense. Once you get accepted into a college, you have to take a College Entrance Exam, which determines if you’re eligible to continue attending.

Image Courtesy of Jordan Gonzalez

It wouldn’t be an amazing experience until you explore other parts of that particular country. Luckily for Jordan, he was able to travel to many different towns in Japan. Amongst some of the places, Jordan visited Towa, Tanohata, Tokyo, Kamakurm, Mountain Takao, and many more! “My favorite place to visit was Kamakurm. It’s a really cool beach town, kind of like Jersey shore and it has the most heritage sites. It’s more traditional and modern.” On his free time, Jordan enjoyed studying, shopping, going to the arcade, and hanging with his friends. If you really enjoy the scenery of places, hiking would be a great activity for you in Japan. Jordan stated that there are shrines of religious monuments and the atmosphere is really spiritual. At the top of the mountain, the scenery is beautiful. The Metro System also displays a lot of art. “The night scene is pretty cool. It’s a heavy drinking culture and there’s a lot of bars and clubs around. It’s a very fun city at night.”

Since Jordan is interested in the Japanese culture and know about it, I wanted to know if there was anything he learned while studying abroad there. Here’s what he had to say:

“While being in Japan, I realized that the people there were nice and have respect for boundaries. They’re professionally oriented. Before studying abroad, I would hear that Japan is a group culture and not individualistic like America, but that’s not the case. It’s more of a face culture; it comes off as kind of judgmental. But, they have a strong level of community and everyone practically knows each other. There’s also Facebook videos that are disingenuous. They would show people leaving their phones around and try to portray it as a safe place, but it’s like any other country.”

Jordan’s experience in Japan seemed really fun and educational. He enjoyed the Japanese culture, while also learning what it’s like to live in Japan.