Matthew Loten

Japanese Studies

Matthew Loten

The year abroad was a fantastic experience; it really opened my eyes to the wider world and afforded me a fantastic opportunity to experience a culture very different from my own

Matthew Loten was impressed by the enthusiasm of previous students at Open Day, the wide variety of modules and the department’s track record.

Having studied French, German, Japanese and Latin at various stages of my compulsory education, I settled on Japanese as I enjoyed it a great deal. I applied to Brookes and was offered a place on the Japanese Studies course, starting 2009.

Living in Oxford was a huge draw, but I was also very impressed by the enthusiasm for the course that previous students displayed when I was at the Brookes’ Open Day. The fact that Brookes had a wide variety of cultural, social and historically based modules and that the department had an impressive track record in terms of rankings was quite important when I was making my decision.

Whilst I came primarily to learn the Japanese language, the cultural modules that I have taken have kindled a greater interest in the history of Japan, its religions, its cinema, and more. Of course the year abroad was also a fantastic experience; it really opened my eyes to the wider world and afforded me a fantastic opportunity to experience a culture very different from my own, and exchange views and ideas with people raised with different ideals, philosophies on life and views of the world at large.

I adore Oxford as a city and its cultural and historical heritage. It really is a student town with a relaxed and eclectic atmosphere. Even if I move away after graduation, I will always be proud to say I was able to spend 3 years of my life in such a wonderful city. As a student city I have found the atmosphere very conducive to studying, and the history that comes with it an inspiration at times.

I am still undecided with regards my future plans, but I do hope to continue using and improving my Japanese and my knowledge of Japan in general. The skills that I learnt at Brookes will prove valuable no matter what direction my choice of career takes, but the independence I gained on my year abroad in particular, I believe, will stand me in great stead following graduation.

Having a modern language under my belt at a time when so few British students are choosing to study languages to an advanced level can in my opinion only prove beneficial. As mentioned the personal growth brought about by my year abroad will, I believe, make me a better prospective employee.

I do think that many of the Japanese department lecturers are fantastic at what they do, but in particular John Lo Breglio and Alexander Jacoby have proven exceptionally inspirational on a personal level. John’s true academic approach to teaching and motivating students is one of the key factors behind my desire to study hard and achieve at University, and Alex’s encouragement, interesting lectures and analytical seminars have certainly helped me not only improve as a student, but have also provided me with the enthusiasm to keep improving.

I have joined the Brookes Japanese Society every year so far, and have made some of my closest friends through the Society, including forging some international ties that I’m sure will last for years to come.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first three years and am greatly looking forward to discovering what my final year has in store!