Fulbright and JLPT

I’m back on campus diving into exciting finance and economics textbooks, but with the real world coming quickly, I’ve taken on a few more tasks to make things more interesting.

My Spanish friend Xema, with whom I traveled to Southeast Asia, at one point mentioned that I should try for a Fulbright Scholarship if I wanted to return to Japan.  A few months later, my good friend here in Wilmington, Andrew Rimer, attended a meeting and picked up some materials regarding this scholarship because he was also considering applying.  I read in his pamphlet the available programs for Japan, and got a little motivated.

The next thing I know, I’m making phone calls, reading reports and carefully crafting a research project for this Fulbright.  It has to be a relevant, do-able and up-your-alley kind of research, so with my love of trains, business education, and Japanese skills, I hopped on board the High Speed Rail movement in the US (pun intended).

I’m not sure how many people are aware, but in February, 2009 the President signed into action the “American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.”  You can thank this bill for a majority of the annoying road construction around, or an $8 billion investment to jumpstart high speed rail.  Certain states with designated corridors will receive the funds, and then contract out to build the system.  Here is a map of suggested routes:Click the photo for eons of information on the topic.

My love of trains that I developed in Japan and my major studies have aligned with this research project.  I am proposing to use the Japanese train system as a model to reveal what kind of economic changes will occur if we built similar trains in America.  This kind of research is needed to help promote and plan for this, so I hope I get the grant to do it.  I’m not going to bore you with the details of my research right now (that will be another post), but I think you get the idea.  I submit my application on September 22, so wish me luck!

I’ve also recently registered for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.  This is a very official way to show off my Japanese language skills and get certification as well.  The test has multiple levels, and since this will be my first time, I’m playing it safe with the intermediate level (level 3 of 5).

Brushing up on vocabulary is a must, and I’ve been using an interesting site that language enthusiasts must check out: Smart.fm.  It’s user created but makes memorizing vocabulary fun.  It’s free, and you can find a good deal of languages on the site.

Of course, books podcasts, and just reading online are other ways I’m preparing for the test.  I’m not looking forward to the drive all of the way to Washington, DC for the exam, but it will be worth it.  The test date is December 5.

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