Bachelor of International Studies
Bachelor of International Studies

I am in my final year of studying a Bachelor of International Studies, majoring in History and Japanese. I chose Kyushu University not only because it was close to my brother but also to experience a whole new part of Japan I have never been to before.
Kyushu University is in Fukuoka, Kyushu which is the bottom island of Japan. I figured it was further away from the influence of the west and that I would encounter less foreigners than Tokyo. I wanted to throw myself in the deep end and completely discover a new place. At Kyushu University, they offered a program called Japan’s in Today’s World which was taught in English. It offered various courses on Japan’s culture, history, literature and many other aspects. Since I had to fulfil a certain amount of credits, I found myself having to take on many courses. The core courses were interesting, insightful and taught me a lot about Japanese culture that I was not aware of it.

Along with those core courses, I took a couple of Japanese classes. The expectations and attendance were fairly strict and intense but I found that they were manageable. In truth, I should have asked to be in a higher class to really push myself in my language learning. Other than that the classes were enjoyable and the teachers were terrific and very helpful.

Before my exchange, I vowed that I would try to make friends more with Japanese rather than International students. However, I found that making friends with International students made me more aware of our interesting differences. I have learnt a lot about many other countries’ cultures as well as Japan’s. Also, it was always fun to have cooking parties at the dormitory house since I could try various foods from different countries.

The dormitory house that I lived in was 35 mins away from the university by bus but by bike, it was 20 minutes. It is a fairly old building and will soon be torn down since the highway is being extended. So, the next round of students will probably live in a different housing. The kitchen and laundry areas were shared, the dormitory room was bigger than I thought and I had my own bathroom. Overall, I lived quite comfortably despite the building’s shabby state.

Living in Fukuoka is fairly cheap compared to other cities of Japan. The amount suggested by UQ abroad was more than enough. Plus, the OS Help Loan and the UQ Grant were very helpful in paying for living and transport expenses. It really depends on how you budget your money and how much travel you intend to do around Japan. Furthermore, the Japanese government offers scholarships for some students too. Overall, $12,000 is more than enough to get you by comfortably.

My top tips would be:

  • Try and make many Japanese friends (as well as International students)
  • Throw yourself in the deep end (Try something challenging)
  • Travel around (if you can)
  • Eat different kinds of food
  • Arrange to have a host family or conversation partner (Kyushu University offers that)
  • Avoid speaking English
  • Try to stay as long as you can (1 semester is too short)

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