My name’s Michael Duong, a third year student in the Global Development Studies program and currently working with UFV Study Abroad as their new blogger. I’ll be working on this project to promote other students’ experience from their study abroad program from or to UFV.
I recently came back from my one year exchange at Chuo University in Japan and I’d love to share my experience with anyone who is interested. I might not be able to express it on this particular blog post but if you ever see me around campus, feel free to ask any questions.
Anyways, studying abroad has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had throughout my student life. I loved immersing myself in the Japanese culture and the language that I grew up admiring. The people in Japan were incredibly hospitable to foreigners, they often go above and beyond (and this is coming from a Canadian who thinks highly of Canada). Sharing experiences with other exchange students who have the same level of passion about Japan made the memories amazing as well. My fondest memories were my travels to Hokkaido and Okinawa (North and South part of Japan respectively) with my friends during our break.
At Chuo University, they offered many optional extra-curricular activities off campus to give us a richer experience in Japan. For example, the English Speaking Society often organized events where exchange students can experience the cultural side of Japan. For example the school allowed us to wear traditional Japanese clothing called a “kimono” and they hired a professional photographer for us. Overall it was a good experience for myself and the other exchange students.
I personally recommend studying abroad in any country that may be of interest because it gives one a vast amount of insight on what’s beyond our own world. For myself, I was able to make many long lasting friendship with people from all around the world and plan on seeing them again in the future.
Tips for anyone interested in visiting Japan:
- People often think that food in Japan is expensive but it’s not true. This is because tipping is NOT required! It actually is rude to do so. But customer service is still top notch. That offsets the “expensive” side of dining out. You can also find supermarkets with pre-made meals for around $5 CAD. Or if you’re an even more frugal student like me, they usually have 30%+ discount on those pre-made meals after 6PM
- There’s over 100 lines within Greater Tokyo so be prepared to get lost once in awhile. Google Maps is your friend! Also, crowded trains are true in Tokyo during rush hours (to and from work) and weekends. Only once have I ever been pushed into a train by staff so it’s quite rare that it will happen.
- Language barrier is not an issue if you’re in Tokyo. A lot of people there have basic understanding of English and hand gestures will go a long way. Many people are eager to practice their English as well so be prepared for that.
Those are my most useful tips for you are ever thinking about visiting Japan. If there are any other questions regarding studying abroad or Japan in general, feel free to leave me a comment.
Also, I’d like to plug in that the Study Abroad Expo at UFV is happening on September 27th 2017. If you have any interest in signing up for the program, feel free to join to event and get some knowledge and tips from people who have been abroad or currently abroad. Looking forward to seeing you all there.
Until next time