Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts

I am a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Japanese. For my exchange, I went to Kyoto University of Foreign Studies in Japan. Kyoto is known as a city filled with ancient shrines and temples. It is also a city that presents Japanese culture very well. I arrived in Kyoto in March during sakura season. It was one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever seen in my life. People from all over the world went to Kyoto to see the beautiful sakura blossoming. The sakura decorated the shrines, temples, and the streets. I spent at least two weeks just enjoying visiting temples filled with sakura and taking part in hanami under fully blossoming sakura trees. During my exchange I never needed to go very far to visit famous shrines, such as Kiyomizudera or Fushimi Inari, because there were more than enough of them in Kyoto already. I also experienced many traditional cultural activities such as watching the ‘Kamogawa Odori’, a dance performed by Geiko and Maiko, demonstrating the beauty of Kyoto. During the semester I took a tea ceremony class where I learned how to drink and make tea properly and learnt the history of tea ceremony.

At university, I took the required Japanese classes and other electives courses such as grammar class and a special Japanese class where you watch movies to practice your listening. At Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, you attend classes every day with at least three or four classes per day. I had assignments and small tests every day and a large test every week. There was a lot of work but it did help to improve my Japanese throughout the semester! Kyoto University of Foreign Studies is also a university that provides a lot of chances to meet and socialize with Japanese students, which really helped to improve my Japanese listening and speaking skill in the four short months that I studied there. There were also many parties and events every week for the international students to get together, so my weekends were never boring in Kyoto! I also met many friends from all over the world and it was very interesting to get to know different cultures other than Japanese culture. For accommodation, I was very fortunate to live in Residence B, which was the closest apartment block to school, only a 5 minute walk. I certainly think Residence B is the most convenient place to stay during your exchange here!

So if you have the chance, I would recommend going to Kyoto in Spring to see the sakura season. But if you come during the second semester of year, instead of sakura you will be able to enjoy the maple leaves which I believe will be amazing as well! Kyoto is just such an interesting city that there were too many places to see and foods to try that I felt like I did not have enough time. I wish I could have stayed there for a whole year instead of one semester. Overall, I would definitely recommend going to Kyoto University of Foreign Studies for a great exchange experience!

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