I went on exchange Kobe University during my 3rd year of Bachelor of Arts program. As I was studying a double major in Japanese, I knew from the beginning of my studies that my goal was to study in Japan.

Kobe University has a great set up for international students. Firstly, there is an International Student Centre where many classes take place and the office staff are happy to help you with any queries. Exchange students are also assigned to a faculty – most often the International Cultural Studies faculty – who I found were an immense help with a large range of things. While at Kobe University, I took the Intensive Japanese program at the International Student Centre, which consists of four hours of class every day. I can’t recommend this program enough! With a small class size and great teachers, it is a lot of fun and I found that my Japanese language skills improved quickly. I also took several classes from my faculty, in which there was a mix of Japanese students and exchange students. I really appreciated this opportunity to participate in classes with Japanese students and found it extremely interesting to discuss topics with students from a variety of backgrounds.

Kobe itself is a beautiful city sandwiched between mountains and the ocean. It is very cosmopolitan but not as busy or crowded as Tokyo. Due to its small size, it is also relatively easy to get around – although being located next to mountains means lots of walking up hills! I was able to experience the four seasons, which, coming from Brisbane, was amazing. Kobe is close to Osaka and Kyoto which makes it ideal for local sightseeing.

I lived in student accommodation which was cheap and within half an hour’s walking distance of university – I even had an ocean view from my balcony! Living together with students from all over the world was one of the best parts of going on exchange. I’ve made some incredibly good friends and being able to experience Japan with them was very special. We travelled to many different places in Japan – my favourite was the northern island of Hokkaido.
Going on exchange was an amazing experience. If at all possible, I highly recommend going for two semesters and not just one! If you’re thinking about going on exchange, stop thinking and start applying! You definitely won’t regret it.


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