Qiuyan - Kyoto University

B. International Hotel and Tourism Management
Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

1) Courses
My program is KUINEP, which is an exchange program taught by English instead of Japanese. While doing this program, participants can take courses from a list of courses with local students. Or, Kyoto University provided some special courses for international students to learn more about Japanese society and culture. 

I took courses from various subjects, including Contemporary Economics, Animal Behaviours, Business Thinking, Japan's Political Economics, Anthropology, Comparative Psychology and Japanese language learning courses.

2)The Most Enjoyable Part
This program provides many chances for exchange students to study with local students instead of with exchange students only. Therefore, you can make many local friends and improve your language skills significantly here. 

3)Challenges
There are more courses at Kyoto University than at UQ. I need to study 9 different courses here. Therefore, when it comes to the assignment week, it does need some hard work. Also, professors prefer to tell you the exact requirements of assignments only around 2 weeks ahead of the deadline. In order to overcome this challenge, I did time management well. I finished most short trips within Japan or other entertainment activities at the beginning of the semester or during some national holidays and used most time within the semester to finish my assignments. Exchange students need to be careful of the academic schedule of each course and well balance their study and live here.

Personal experience

I gained many sincere friendships here and also developed my Japanese language skills efficiently.
There are 3 groups of important friends during my exchange life. 
The first group is international students who lived in the same international house with me. In our international houses, there are other exchange students from many different countries (US, UK, Sweden, China, Korea, Norway, Germany, Vietnam, etc.). Most of them are very friendly. Sometimes, we held a party inside the international house to have fun or go to day trip together. Therefore, most of us have a close relationship after the semester here.
The second group is my classmates. I studied with may local students at Kyoto University. We finished group works and went o a field trip together, which help us to build friendship within this process.
The third group is language exchange partners. Kyoto University provided the chance for international students to practice language skills with local students. Some of my language exchange partners became very nice friend of me at the end of the semester

Accommodation

I applied for the Yoshida International House within the Yoshida campus of Kyoto University. Since most exchange students have classes at the Yoshida campus, it’s very convenient to live in this International House. You will have you own room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen if you stayed in this international house. It provides a tidy single apartment for each students. 
All people who stayed in this International House are international students or researchers in Kyoto University. So it is safe. The international house has a large lounge, which is free for students to use. Sometimes, international students held some parties there. In those parties, you can meet many new friends from different areas.
Therefore, I strongly recommend future exchange students to stay in international houses near the main campus.

Budget

I stayed in a dormitory that cost around 40,000 yen per month (around 500 AUD). Each meal in the cafeteria will cost around 300-600 yen (4-7 AUD). If you want to eat outside, it’s usually around 1000-2000 yen per person. So the living cost is not that expensive in Japan (if you don't travel often☺), compared to Australia .
One important thing is not to forget to apply your scholarship. Kyoto University not only provide student opportunities to apply for JASSO, it also provide Kyoto University Exchange Student Scholarship from the university itself. The amount of money is the same, 80,000 yen per month.

Professional development and employability

I developed efficient social skills and cross-culture communication skills during my exchange semester. It not only help you to make friends from multiple culture background but also teaches you how to communicate with entrepreneurs, professors while attending social events held by the university.

Highlight

Gion Matsuri. Gion Matsuri is one of the largest traditional festivals in Japan. As an event student, it was very exciting to experience this traditional festival in Kyoto, which helps me to have a deeper insight into how to keep traditional events active in modern society.

Top tips

  • Don't forget to apply for scholarships
  • Bring some gifts from Aus to your new friends
  • Know more information about your future professors and communicate with them more actively.
Qiuyan - Kyoto University