I’m almost halfway through my exchange now, and the time is just flying by! I’ve been very busy lately with classes, as I have around 20 contact hours each week.
Here at Chuo University the scheduling and system is a little different to that at Flinders. We have 6 periods in a day, with each class going for an hour and a half. We also have an hour long lunch break, which means we all have a chance to head to the four storey cafeteria and eat a delicious Japanese meal.
During my studies here, I am taking four classes that will be credited towards my Bachelor of Arts degree, as well as a Japanese language class. All of the international exchange students have the opportunity to study Japanese, with 4 different levelled classes. I have very limited experience with learning Japanese, so I am in the beginner class. We have 8 classes a week, adding up to 12 hours of class time.
Along with my studies, I am participating in some part time English tutoring for primary school aged children. A lot of other exchange students are involved in language teaching (mostly English, but some students are teaching their native language). The university’s international centre is always updating us on the opportunities available, and there is a great student organisation here running free language sessions where anyone is welcome to teach and to learn!
Although, we still have plenty of time to hang out and explore Japan! The university has a few student groups that encourage international students to join and participate in their activities. They organise things like tours, and groups to attend different sporting or musical events. It’s a really great way to get international students socialising with local Japanese students, and for us to share our cultures and experience Japan from a locals perspective. Plus, the local students usually know about the best restaurants and scenic locations and can’t wait to share them with us!
Over the past month, I have visited Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Kawaguchiko, and experienced an Autumn Festival in Fuchu.
My favourite place in Japan so far has been Kawaguchiko. Around Mt. Fuji, there are five large lakes, the most popular being Kawaguchi lake located in the small town of Kawaguchiko. Although the town is small, there are a lot of restaruants, museums and traditional hot springs called onsen. While there, my friends and I took a walk around the lake, and then took the Kachi Kachi ropeway to an observation point on Mt. Tenjo, a smaller mountain by the lake. At the top of Mt. Tenjo, we had an amazing view of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding area.
We also visited Fuji Q Highland, a theme park in the area with record breaking rollercoasters. The park was quite busy, with a few hours wait for each of the main attractions, although it was definitely worth it! Not only are the rides impressive, but the view from each is spectacular, with Mt. Fuji visible from the top of them.
I am having an incredible time in Japan, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me over the next three months.
Tara May, Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7), Bachelor of Arts student, Semester 2 2017 exchange at Chuo University, Japan
- Read Tara’s 1st blog post here