Teaching Traveling: Welcome to Haruto, a Japanese man studying and teaching in Germany! Haruto, tell us a bit about your background.
Haruto: My name is Haruto Abe (my friends know me as Koyotie) and I am from Osaka, Japan. Since I arrived in Germany I started keeping a journal about my observations here, but what is writing for worth if no one is going to read it? Instead of leaving my thoughts locked in a notepad at my drawer I decided to start blogging about my experiences to stay in touch with my family and friends back home, and connect with other students from abroad.
In order to maintain myself financially and also secure some funds for my greatest hobby which is of course, travelling I now work as an English tutor for younger students in need of practicing. I am 27 years old and I am doing my Master’s in Software Engineering at the LMU University in Munich, Germany. In my spare time I blog about my adventures in and around the country, so feel free to drop me a comment anywhere in my articles about anything related to studying and travelling.
TT: Neat! Tell us more about your travels.
H: Most of my travels were in and around the country I’m studying in. Germany is one amazing compartment offering so many diverse attractions to the newcomers. For the time being I have used all of my free time like weekends, holidays and any other decent opportunities to travel and explore other cities except Munich and most importantly their suburbia.
The trips I usually take are short, mostly Friday-Sunday expeditions, preferably alone so I have all the time for myself and my desired destinations yet sometimes I invite a friend to join me so it doesn’t get too silent. Prior to the departure I do a lot of research concerning the place I’m heading to so I don’t end up losing any second with oddities that might come along the way. If there is an interesting activity at the scene of crime I sign in online while I’m still at home just to be sure there it doesn’t turn out as a last minute rejection.
Some of the places I have travelled to include Berlin, Dresden, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and their surroundings. The experience was remarkable.
TT: How do you find your travel opportunities?
H: Usually I ask my native German friends for recommendations of places to visit accordingly to my interests. I explain what I would like to gain from the whole experience, which is a mostly insight on history and architecture, the culture diversities and common people’s behavior and expectations.
Whenever I am decided to where I am heading I start the online stalking of the place by searching for every tiny detail that might come in handy. I even enter free forum for one on one chats believing that it’s a more genuine approach to getting accurate answers.
TT: How do you find the money to fund your travel?
H: As aforementioned, I work hard to finance my journeys. Private English lessons as a tutor has been quite resourceful here in Munich yet whenever a job opportunity pops, usually short lasting, I am the first one to call. I used to write articles about my findings during the travels for a local magazine that in return secured funding’s for these journeys. Together with Liv and some other students we wrote the Germany Study Guide on behalf of Mawista and other articles as well. Now and then, I bartend at this club I visit occasionally, a job I got through a friend there however because of my studies I try to keep myself sober most of the time.
TT: Interesting! Tell us one moment from your travels that were particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
H: The moment when I discovered the origin of Cuckoo Clocks, those devious little woods carvings that used to mess up with my head as a child the reason of most of my nightmares believing that inside those tiny doors there is another world made of elf’s and hobbits that captivate beautiful fairies and imprison them in dungeons. This happened during my trip to the famous Black Forest, a fairytale landscape itself that initiated my creative daydreaming.
TT: How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your current career?
H: The more I learn about German culture the more I become considerate about some odd German customs that are difficult to engulf. I believe that my attitude towards my young students has changed drastically, I now don’t freak out from all of the formal madness that goes on in my city, I have grown to respect it widely.
TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?
H: Everywhere I go, I bring back a piece of that place with me in my heart and my memories. The people I meet and the experiences we share, this exchange of thought and ideas has given me a whole different perspective on my life and my behavior towards myself and the others. The mission to study abroad came mainly to get rid of my naïve and blind faith in people, to build a reservation wall from all the hurt coming in my way. So far, I believe I’m doing a great job.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
H: If you ask me travelling is a must for anyone who believes that borders are just a political stand otherwise we are all in search for new and diverse perspectives that will shed light on our very own philosophical sprout. I am in no position to advice or preach, however I can say that coming to Germany has been a wakeup call and hopefully this shall be just the beginning on an endless journey around the world.
TT: Thanks, Haruto! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English from Boston who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched TeachingTraveling.com in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and over 1.6 million readers have visited over the past decade. Lillie also runs AroundTheWorld L.com Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following @WorldLillie on social media!