What can I say? I don’t want to come home!
Looking back on when I was preparing to leave for Japan, I don’t know why I worried so much as this exchange has turned out to be the highlight of my university career. It has been over the past three months I have made some incredible friends from not only Japan, but all over the world.
The workload has just gotten heavier, the Japanese language classes have just become more intense and assignment deadlines are looming ever closer. But despite this, it hasn’t distracted myself or other students to continue to enjoy the student culture at Chuo University. Taking part in clubs, social excursions, a little all night karaoke and joining in on a language lab at G Square are just a few of the things we fill our days with outside of our studies.
My time here as gone by so quickly, but looking back I have done so much. I have climbed mountains, gone caving, I have joined packed streets to watch a festival go by, and I have travelled to some of the most beautiful places in Japan. Because I have been so busy (having a great time) I can’t say I have been homesick and the idea of returning home fills me with sadness! I finally understand what the people at the supermarkets are saying to me, I can’t leave now!
One of the main reasons for coming to Japan was so that I could improve my Japanese and prior to coming my Japanese was somewhat rusty. So coming to a country where English isn’t the first spoken language I was a little concerned. After all, I could just about tell them my name and what I study – hardly enough to register my place of residence at the city hall or organise Japanese health insurance! The people of Japan have been overwhelmingly patient and I surprised myself when I was able to do just that! My Japanese is far from perfect, but it has improved in leaps and bounds. For those who don’t speak Japanese, there is no need to worry! While the city hall visits might prove tricky, everyday life you can get by with a few key phrases.
From one happy Flinders student, ありがとう、まったね！
Sam May, a Bachelor of International Studies/Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice student, Semester 1 2016 exchange at Chuo University, Japan
- See Sam’s pre-departure post here