At the end of last semester we sat down with Kaho, an exchange student at UFV, about her experience studying here so far. Kaho is originally from Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan, but is currently a student at Chuo University in the Tokyo area. Her major is business, but she also learning English and is a member the English club at Chuo. In order to improve her English as well as experience Canadian life, Kaho chose to study abroad at UFV. When asked why she chose to study abroad at UFV, Kaho said that when she was in high school she studied abroad in Alberta. During her time studying abroad, she made many friends and enjoyed the Canadian nature. So when she was thinking of studying abroad again, she wanted to go somewhere near Alberta, as well as a place with lots of nature, and UFV fit the bill.
Kaho’s daily life at UFV is a busy one, she is always doing something. She is staying with a homestay family which she remarks has been a great experience for her, saying that when you stay with a homestay they become just like family. In regards to courses, Kaho took English for academic preparation (EAP) and Sociology courses in her first semester. She noted that the sociology courses can be challenging, but she goes to the Academic Success Center for help if there is something she is struggling with. Outside of courses, Kaho spends lots of time with friends on and off campus. On campus she likes hanging out on the green, play drop in volleyball or badminton in the gym, or spend time “studying” in the library with friends, says with a laugh. Off campus with her friends, Kaho does lots of different activities as well, such as going to the gym, taking Tae Kwon Do classes,or going to Castle Fun Park.
When asked what some of her favourite memories of her time studying abroad have been so far, Kaho has no shortage of answers. She recalls going to Castle Fun Park with 15 people and playing lots of games, noting the hammer game was a favourite. She also remembers spending thanksgiving with her homestay family, getting the experience the traditional thanksgiving meal of a big turkey, stuffing and other delicious foods. Finally, she reminisces about spending Halloween with her friends, dressing up, playing games and having a great time together.
In conclusion we asked Kaho if she had any recommendations for future students studying abroad at UFV. In general for all exchange students, she recommends that even if you are shy, try to step out of your comfort zone and try talking to new people, you will make lots of friends and learn a lot about the country you are in. Also she recommends studying abroad for 2 semesters if you can, she notes that 1 semester goes by way too fast. Furthermore she recommends staying with a homestay family because they will become your family, taking you places and talking to you, which will help you experience the true culture of the country you are in.
Specifically for Japanese students, she recommends studying English hard before studying abroad, so you can take more academic classes. She also recommends that Japanese student watch some Anime, stating that lots of people know about Japanese Anime and will want to talk about it with you, so if you have watched some it will be easier to talk with people. She also notes that It’s also good to make friends with other international students, even ones from your home country, you can meet new people that you wouldn’t otherwise, just make sure not to speak too much of your native language if you are here trying to improve your English!
~If you would like to study abroad at UFV like Kaho, or are a UFV student that would like to study abroad at in another country like Japan, go to the ‘contact us’ section of the blog and we’ll get you started on your own adventure!~