Over the past five months I have had the most exciting and enlightening experience of my life. I have been so fortunate to have this opportunity, and I am quite sad that my time in Japan has come to an end. I have met so many wonderful people from all over the world, and shared so many great memories with them.
Before embarking on my student exchange program, I was a little worried about how well I would manage. I am quite shy at times, and I wondered if I would feel too uncomfortable to be in a totally different environment for such a long time. I was surprised how quickly my feelings changed, and how at ease I became in Japan.
During my time here I have learned to be a lot more independent, and to have more confidence in my abilities. This has been a really valuable experience for personal development, as well as an insightful educational experience.
At first, I found the University a little strange as it ran quite differently to the way that Flinders does. Once I was settled and started to embrace the differences, I was able to understand the value that experiencing alternative teaching methods has.
Over the past semester at Chuo University, I have been able to experience many traditional and non-traditional styles of teaching/learning that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. I also had the chance to take some really interesting subjects taught by very knowledgeable and passionate teachers. As a pre-service teacher myself, this was incredibly insightful and I’m glad I got to experience this.
My favourite thing about Japan is that there is always something to do. During the Christmas holiday, I got to go to some beautiful places around Japan with friends, my boyfriend and some visiting family.
I went to the Japanese Alps, and stayed at a small town nearby called Takayama. There were a lot of hiking trails with gorgeous views.
I also visited Kyoto for the second time, and while there I saw plenty of the temples, shrines and gardens that Kyoto has to offer. My favourite place in Kyoto was the bamboo forest!
After Kyoto, I went to Osaka. I really enjoyed seeing Osaka Castle, the Osaka Aquarium, the food filled area of Dotonbori, and the Tempozan Ferris wheel. From Osaka, I visited a small town called Wakayama by the coast, with some lovely scenic landmarks nearby.
Japan really is a beautiful country, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time travelling around, and studying in Tokyo. My advice to anyone who is thinking about doing a student exchange, is to just go for it! It’s a really great experience that allows you to broaden your education and further yourself as a person.
Tara May, Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7), Bachelor of Arts student, Semester 2 2017 exchange at Chuo University, Japan