Has a month really gone by?

Tina Nguyen
April 30, 2017

It's been a month since I've settled in and adjusted to daily life in Japan. I grew somewhat accustomed to using the trains, although still getting lost here and there. The walks to Kanda University is not as energy consuming anymore even though I would sometimes be running out of breath and panting for air. Most people don't speak English so it is a bit hard to communicate what you want to say. The ticket counter workers are really friendly and helpful though! They will try to help you with their limited knowledge of English and make sure you go the right way, so don't be shy to ask for help!

Classes are quite similar but also different compared to my home school in California. My home university has a large population of students, about ten times the population at Kanda University. So, it was surprising to not see that many people on campus. Class sizes are extremely small as well! We have the option to choose classes that range from IES Abroad courses to KUIS(Kanda) courses along with the mandatory Japanese language classes. KUIS courses allows you to take classes with other Japanese students, whereas, IES Abroad courses are specifically tailored for IES Abroad students only.  However, it may be hard to get credit for KUIS courses with your home university so you would have to check with your academic counselor. I decided to just enroll in IES Abroad courses and I also got placed into my desired level for my Japanese course. The class size for IES Abroad courses are about 15 students and Japanese courses vary depending on what level everyone places into. My level 2 class only has seven students! The courses give a lot of homework, mostly writing assignments, so be sure to not take too many classes. The main reason you are there is to be immersed in a whole new culture while learning, so you wouldn't want to be holed up in your room trying to finish your homework. You should give yourself some time to enjoy what is out there and meet new people! 

I decided to stay in a dorm rather than a homestay due to cost reasons, but if you have the chance and you can afford it, I highly recommend it! I hear so many great feedback from my friends and you get to create a bond with your host family that is entirely different from dorming! It doesn't mean that dorming is all that bad either! I like where I'm at and the people in it are really nice! The cafeteria food is also pretty good too although there would be times it is questionable but overall it is tasty! The dorms in Japan are very different from the dorms in the US. To start, not everyone in the dorms are students. Some are working professionals and some are students from different schools. There are 2 shower rooms with 2 stalls each located on the first floor only. The cafeteria is also located on the first floor with two of the sweetest obaachans (grandmas) you can meet! If you have allergies to ceetain types of food or you have religious reasons, don't worry about it. They are so kind that they make separate meals for you! They work hard to provide food to each of the dorm residents! Overall, my experience in Japan in this past month has been really fun and exciting! It flew by so quick that the time to return is almost here. It makes me sad to think about it T_T Until next time then!

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Tina Nguyen

<p>Hi everyone! I&rsquo;m Tina and I&rsquo;m from California, majoring in computer science at the University of California, Irvine. I&rsquo;ve never travelled to a different country before so I hope to see where the journey takes me and hope you guys can experience it through my writings! I love learning about new cultures, trying out new foods, and traveling. I&rsquo;m, more or less, ready to get and feel lost!</p>

2017 Spring
Home University:
University of California - Irvine
Computer Science
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