Post # 1
I’m considering doing my final year of university on exchange in Japan. The thing is, I have enough credits to graduate this September, which was my plan, but one of my Asian Studies profs suggested I push back my graduation and do exchange. He said he normally doesn’t suggest that but that it would be an amazing experience and you pick up much more Japanese when you’re in the country (obviously). I wouldn’t be able to go until April-July 2014 because we have to apply a year in advance. However, because the start of their semester (April) overlaps the exam period at my school, I am not allowed to take classes at my school from January-April. So I’d pretty much just have to work and wait for the trip.
(Then there’s the issue with Fukushima, which my parents are very concerned about and is the only reason why they don’t want me to go.)
Anyhoo, I’m just trying to weigh all of the pros and cons regarding the exchange and am wondering if anyone has been and can share their experiences?
Post # 3
@BabyCarat: I was an exchange student my senior year of high school, so I had a bit different experience than you most likely would in college But it will still be amazing!!! If its something that even sounds the least bit interesting I encourage you to do otherwise you may regret it. I had an amazing experience in high school that really helped shape who I am today and opened a lot of doors for me.
As for the Fukushima issue, that really depends on where in Japan the program is…. kansai area and west and such (pretty much anywhere west of tokyo) you will have minimal exposure to the radiation except for when you may eat something that came from Fukushima/tohoku area (make sure you know where your foods come from) . Although it really isn’t as bad as it was 2 years ago there still have been issues with fish that have been caught with some radiation so you would just have to be cautious of where your food is from.
Post # 4
@Pink.panda: Thank you for your input:)! It definitely sounds interesting to me, and it will help my language skills and will look good on my resume.
Yeah, it would be in the Kansai area (Kyoto), so that’s a plus. I don’t eat any kind of fish/seafood/nori, so I won’t have to worry about the radiation that TEPCO has dumped into the ocean. And I intend to avoid anything with dairy…although I’ll still have to eat something while I’m there, lol. But as far as knowing where your food is from, is it noted on the signs at the grocery store (eg. produce signs)? And I guess I won’t know where my food is from when I’m at a restaurant:(
And Tarepanda~~~~!♥ ♥
Post # 5
I studied abroad in Tokyo for a semester when I was in college, and it was amazing. Got a job here after I graduated, and have been living here for nearly two years.
If you really want to learn Japanese, this is the best way to do it. My speaking skills were crap until I got here and had to function in Japanese every day.
Most produce and dairy says where it came from, but it will almost always be in kanji. So learn to recognize the kanji for the areas your not comfortable with. I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much if you’re going to be in Kyoto.
Post # 6
I wasn’t an exchange student, but I spent five months working near Tokyo. It was an amazing experience, and I highly encourage you to go, especially if you have not spent a lot of time outside of your home country (something I truly think everyone who can should do).
It definitely puts you out of your element, but Japan is a beautiful and very interesting place (especially Kyoto! I never got to go there, so I’m jealous! Hahaha). It is such a strange mixture of the old and new right next to each other, and there is just nothing like it in the USA (or UK… or whatever place you happen to be from!). If you are going till July, try to stay to the end of it or beginning of August, so you can buy a cheap yukata and experience a summer festival! They are the most fun things!
Post # 7
I lived in Japan for 3 years and I loved it! If you can go you really should try! I’m sure there is a way to avoid the radiation issue!
Post # 8
I wasn’t an exchange student, but I did live in Okinawa for a while. I never worried about radiation (its the most southern island) and the experience was definitely eye-opening because the culture was SO different than my own.
Depending on your major, this experience could be huge in your future career. My old roommate studied in China for a semester and now works on Capitol Hill for Chinese relations think tanks. It literally changed her life.
Post # 9
I stronly encourage you to go!! I studied abroad, not in Japan, but in Ghana, West Africa during college. I am soo glad I did. I had such a great experience and I encourage anyone who is thinking about studying abroad to do it, no matter where you choose to go. Living somewhere else for a year will change the way you look at the world and will make you a better and more well rounded person. Definately go!!
Post # 10
@Jabberwocky: That’s awesome! Yeah, I want to improve my Japanese and I think it’s the best and most logical way to do so. It’s good to know that goods have the area they were produced in on the label. I’ll definitely have to find the kanji for the areas I want to avoid.
@arabbel: I want to visit Tokyo so badly! Kyoto will be really interesting too I think, and maybe less of a “shock” to my system than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Unfortunately my SO’s twin is getting married in August so I don’t know if I can stay for the festivals:( I want to though, and will if I can make it work.
@harperlynn: I hope I can avoid it, haha.
@BooRadley: Asian Studies is my major, with a focus on Japan. So yeah, I don’t see how I could get a serious job in my field without having lived in Japan for a while:) That’s great about your friend! I’m hoping this will help open doors for me too.
@Sea_Ashley: Thanks:) Yeah, everyone says it’s really transformative and opens up your eyes. It sounds like a great opportunity.
Post # 11
@BabyCarat: Golden Week will happen while you’re here, so it would be really easy to hop a train to Tokyo for a long weekend.