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A Hectic Lifestyle in Japan

Life in Japan has definitely lived up to its expectations with the perfect balance of education in a completely different environment, and the freedom to travel throughout the week. Although it has only been two months, the time I’ve spent here has been amazing. The location of the university within the Kansai Region is perfect, with travel times estimating around 30 minutes to Kyoto and Osaka city, allowing for convenient consistent weekend trips.

In terms of facilities, Kansai Gaidai has two international campuses which are about a 15-minute walk from each other. Both include a library, cafeteria, study spaces, classrooms, gym, and outdoor leisurely areas. The university provides a wide variety of programs which allow for interaction with a variety of Japanese communities, from playing board games with high schoolers, to dancing with the elderly. Two programs I highly recommend applying for are the Japanese speaking partner program, which is basically just a Japanese friend you can meet weekly to either converse in your respected languages or just go out and have fun travelling together. The second program I have thoroughly enjoyed is the Japanese home visit program, which applies more towards the students staying in the dormitory, allowing you to talk to and experience the life in everyday Japanese homes, and converse with local families.

The teaching style is somewhat different to back home, specifically the requirement for attendance, and Japanese weekly quizzes. Essentially the teaching style promotes a more consistent study routine, where homework completion and vocabulary memorisation are expected, rather than cramming for large assessments. Personally, I have found this beneficial in developing my Japanese, and has also allowed for less stressful periods throughout the semester.

Studying in Japan and specifically Kansai Gaidai has allowed me to experience a completely different study program to the one I’m used to back at home. Learning a level of Japanese is required in order to attend Kansai Gaidai and the structure of the language courses can be quite fast requiring students to keep up to date with vocabulary and grammar structures, or risk being left behind. However, electives on the other hand are very flexible and the workload are marginally lighter for the majority of subjects. The university has a wide selection of elective subjects under the umbrellas of political sciences, social, business, media studies, arts and many others.

For accommodation there are two main options, Homestay and Dormitory. For this semester I have chose dormitory as it felt like a safer option and more comfortable. It has allowed me to easily make friends, the community is very friendly, and we even have YUI (the name we call the dorm) trips where residents are invited to go on a day trip. The last one I went on we went to visit the Ise shrine which is Japan’s more sacred shrine. The dorm is newly refurbished with plenty of showers, toilets, kitchen spaces and lounges to enjoy. Rooms are individual and large enough to sleep and study in, they come with all the necessities, except a towel. For my extension semester in Kansai Gaidai, I’m considering trying out homestay having heard many great things about it from close friends. 

Tips when attending Kansai Gaidai:

  1. Travel as much as possible – There are so many locations and places to explore and time goes by really fast so don’t waste time!! here are some of my recommendations. For weekend trips/ after class trips – Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Uji.

Week break trips – Korea, Tokyo, Kyushu.

  • Don’t take 5 electives – choosing to take Japanese + 5 electives will basically disallow you to travel since you’ll be stuck doing work the whole time and you’ll be missing the whole point of going on global exchange which is making friends, having fun and travelling.
  • You don’t need a bike – During orientation many students will be discussing whether or not its worth buying a bike. Personally, having timed the walk in-between campuses and Hirakata Shi train station, I would say the cost and time taken to lock up your bike won’t save you much time at all.
  • Don’t fall ‘too’ far behind – after experiencing falling behind in vocabulary and grammar structures I would highly recommend you not be as lazy as I was during the first weeks of the semester as it is very difficult to catch up and my grades were initially dropping every chapter review test ☹. Also don’t worry about which Japanese level you get into in the beginning, they are very flexible and will let you go up or down Japanese levels when you begin.

Rohan Chow
Bachelor of Science in Games Development

Kansai Gaidai University
Japan

Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au

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