Kobe University is regarded in Japan as one of the most prestigious universities in the country. One of the perks of going to such a highly regarded university is the reaction you get from the Japanese people when you tell them where you study. Usually they react by making a strange “wow”-like noise, followed by “you must be really smart” and it actually makes you feel like you are, in fact, maybe somewhat clever.
The downside of attending Kobe University is its location. As if it isn’t hard enough feeling motivated to go to uni some days, the founders of Kobe University decided to build it on a mountain called Mt. Rokko. Everyday I endure a 10 minute hike before reaching my destination. Thankfully, my faculty and the Exchange Student Centre is at the bottom of the university campus requiring less mountain-climbing than other faculties. The upside of being on a mountain is the breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Kobe you can feast your eyes on.
I’m part of the Faculty of Letters (Bungakubu in Japanese) so I have the privilege of studying the following courses: American Literature - Short Stories, American Literature - The Catcher in the Rye, English Linguistics (Studied in Japanese), Psychology (Memory studies), French Culture and Second Language Acquisition Studies. Apart from these courses, I also take Japanese language courses (reading, composition and kanji). Every fortnight I have a summative kanji test so my mind is constantly filled with random characters that begin to make very little sense after a while. The courses are all really interesting and challenging. Thankfully I haven’t had any assessments due yet so study has not yet fully taken over my life. I’m sure that this is due to change as the semester progresses.
I am also quite in love with the university cafeterias. Not only do you have a wide range of Japanese cuisine at your fingertips, but they are ridiculously inexpensive. A bowl of Japanese noodles (ramen) will only set you back about 280 yen (about $3.50) and you have access to unlimited complementary hot Japanese tea. The university timetable is set out so that everybody is guaranteed a lunchbreak (no classes between 12.10 and 1.20) so we all get to enjoy lunch together.
This is what I had the other day:
The best part is, it only cost me about $4.
And here are some random photos from uni (as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…)
This is a couple of us exchangies sitting on “The Steps” - this is where all the exchange students seem to congregate. (We get the best view on campus!)
An extracurricular activity… My fellow Australian exchange student friend Andrew (from University of WA) and I being judges for an English speaking competition where English language students presented their well written (and some not so well written) English speeches. We were treated like royalty (we got a big round of applause everytime we entered and left the room where the competition was held) and got rewarded with chocolate for being Kyle and Marcia of the English language for the day.
Although I am only in week six of my semester here, so many things have happened already. I can’t wait to se what else is in store for me at Kobe Uni over the next couple of months!