Jeremy - Kyoto University of Foreign Studies

B. International Studies
Semester 1, 2015

Academic experience

At Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (Kyoto Gaikokugo Daigaku aka Gaidai) the program for incoming exchange students was primarily focused on Japanese language (surprise!). On top of this, there are other courses available such as Japanese society, Model United Nations, and other classes. The workload is high and the classes are long (90minutes per class) but it was all worth it as I went there to improve my Japanese ability. 'Basic Japanese' is the core program for exchange students and there are also electives like Kanji, Composition, and Grammar, among many others. The challenges I faced in this system were the long hours - back to back classes and only 5-10 minutes break in between. However, you meet a great group of people who you are able to study with while making good times during classes and it relieves the stress on everyone.

Personal experience

This exchange allowed me to meet such amazing and influential people. Then taking these new found friends and exploring the unknowns of the wilderness and the bustling cities, I was able to experience things in an unforgettable way. Exchange really helps you get comfortable outside of your comfort zone and living in Japan - when you understand so little of the language, not to mention the culture - was probably the most uncomfortable thing for me. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it so much and will never forget it.


Living off campus in an apartment provided by the university allowed me to live independently. Not being so close to campus (and actually being closer to the city) meant I had more freedom and more shops nearby. I enjoyed that the apartment was mostly furnished with all the basic things you need (the other stuff you can buy at the Daiso). Since the university allocates student housing, there isn't much I can advise future students about, however getting to know your neighbours and other exchange students living nearby is definitely a must.


I spent the amount estimated by Gaidai which is based off previous students spending. I would recommend roughly $10,000-$12,000AUD to live comfortably. Transport and food were definitely the most expensive things.

Professional development and employability

Participation in this exchange has made me realise the importance of establishing networks between all different kinds of people and by doing so, increasing your ability to make friends and bond with colleagues. Studying Japanese full time in Japan was also beneficial as it was a constant struggle to understand the language, from people talking to road signs. This experience will definitely aid me in future as it has allowed to quickly adapt to different situations.


If I had to choose one single thing and say it was the best thing of my exchange - it would have to be visiting the countryside in Nagano and staying with a Japanese friend's family. This trip out of Kyoto let me see the beauty of Japan's nature and do a bit of a homestay in a big country house. There was also a dog, and the dog was really cute. I died a little inside when I left the dog behind. Just a 3 day chill session, but it was best chill session.

Top tips

  • Get out and about - don't stay inside, there's too much to see and do!
  • Spend money wisely! You don't want to get to the halfway mark and realise you can't buy new clothes as the climate changes, and on this note - save up money because the more money you have the richer you are.
  • Make plenty of friends - international network for life
Jeremy - Kyoto University of Foreign Studies