First weeks at a Japanese university

My first ever month at a university has passed and it wasn’t special only because of the high school to university transition, but also because I decided to study in Japan.

The university that I decided for is quite unique here, because of its programs taught in English. I attend the GIGA (Global Information and Governance) program, specifically the faculty of Policy Management. We are all allowed to take any classes, both in English and in Japanese in any of the 6 major campuses in or outside of Tokyo, however, it is advised to “take it easy” during your first semester. Furthermore, we have to receive credits for a number of required classes this semester, such as Physical Education, Fundamentals of Programming, Mathematics, and Mental Wellness class.

Nevertheless, I am still free to choose many interesting classes. As I expected, my favorite classes are mostly based on the likeability of the professor (sometimes there are professors whose English is very hard to comprehend) as opposed to the subjects being interesting themselves. Some of my favorites are Asia Workshop, International Relations, Region and Society and my Japanese Intensive classes that I have 4 times a week.  We are currently in the middle of the mid-term examinations period so I am about to find out how do the exams here look like as well.

Academia aside, I am sure the topic of Japanese lifestyle sounds more interesting. The campus that I go to is a little further away from the capital city, about an hour and a half by train and bus. Students either live with their family, in an apartment close to the campus, or in one of the dormitories. I chose a housing system I already got acquainted with in Japan earlier this year – a sharehouse. It is a very easy way how to get settled here quickly and almost effortlessly, as you only pay the rent and most, if not all, paperwork and utilities charges are taken care of, not the mention the prices of a regular apartment are much higher.

To save money and to avoid the morning bus rush hour, I usually take my bicycle to school and spend the saved money on food. Oh yes, Japanese food is mouth-watering in the least. Even the school cafeteria offers a wide variety of traditional dishes at a heavily subsidized price. After school I usually either attend some of my club meetings as I am a member of the International Student Association and the Keio Students Accelerator Program (a sort of a business and startup company competition), or go work in one of my two part-time jobs.

All in all, life here is very hectic and busy, but extremely enjoyable. I believe I made the right choice to study here.


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