Phillip Rowland ’22 — In lieu of a semester that I had hoped to spend abroad in Tokyo, Japan, I had the honor and the privilege of being able to exercise one of my most prominent passions. As an individual who loves to spend his time studying and trying to connect himself to the world around him, I often find myself drawn to the studying of foreign languages and the synthesis of a second or third language.

With the generous support of the Wabash College Dill Fund, I was fortunate enough to spend my time this past Summer studying and utilizing resources to gain a level of proficiency in the Japanese language that I had hoped to have gained while abroad in Japan during the Spring semester. Through the support of the Dill Fund, I was able to acquire resources in live language practice through an online service and receive evaluations of my language progress from certified individuals. I was also able to connect myself with an entirely new network of individuals who are passionate about the development of foreign languages and look to see each of their peers grow as global citizens.

Although the pandemic persisted throughout the length of the Summer, I was able to continue studying Japanese while I was in a comfortable home environment—which is truly so much more than I could have hoped for.

The progress that I was able to make with my language ability was truly nothing to bat an eye at. My peers that I was in communication with throughout the length of the Summer were genuinely surprised to see just how far that I had come with my language ability—especially my understanding and comfort using complex grammatical structures. Likewise, whenever I first arrived back on campus at the beginning of August, my Japanese professor, and other independent classmates were shocked to see what level I reached just in the length of the Summer. It goes without saying that access to great resources do a lot for the development of your interests, but whenever they push you beyond the limits you previously thought you had, you just feel amazing.

I look to the future with the skills I gained from Summer 2021 as I hope to teach and learn language studies abroad in Japan post-graduation in May 2022. I could not be more grateful for the experience that I was fortunate enough to have.