by Angela Tu
Most everyone assumes that knowing how to use an abacus will only help your math skills. I always thought that too. I thought that learning abacus is useful, and there is no need for a calculator on math tests. However, over the years, I learned that knowing how to do abacus is much more than just helping you in school at only the subject math.
Two years ago, I participated in a national abacus competition. This took place in multiple places, but the places I went to were Japan and Taiwan. I have never been to Japan, so everything there was new to me. If it wasn't for the abacus competition, I don't think I would've ever gone to Japan. In Japan, not only did I improve my abacus skills, but I learned more of the foreign language. Since I was taking Japanese in school, going to Japan helped me understand the language and culture better. I realized that knowing abacus gave me this opportunity that would only come once in a person's life time. From the experience in Japan, I found out that not only can abacus help you on schoolwork, if you take the many opportunities that it provides; you will experience things you never thought you would ever do. It was also the most fun I've had in years.
I have also participated in many demonstrations. This helped me in many ways. Since I'm a pretty shy person, showing people a skill I have, helped me overcome my shyness. Also, I am able to improve my mental math since when demonstrating you want to get the most answers correct. Not only have I done demonstrations but I have been a volunteer at the Moon Festival for 3 years until it was canceled. Over the summer I have also helped out at a summer camp in San Mateo. There, at the Moon Festival and the summer camp, was when I realized how fun teaching abacus can be to little kids. Helping them make a miniature abacus and seeing the joy on their faces when it is complete. These are just a few of the many wonderful experiences I had with abacus.
Learning abacus can benefit one in so many ways. If you take all the opportunities that abacus offers you, your math, teaching, socialization skills will improve, and might even have a better cultural understanding. I will still continue to work hard as well as participate in various abacus related events. Who knows what I will learn next?
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