Madison - Keio University

Bachelor of International Studies
Semester 1, 2018
Going on exchange is a life changing experience, and you will have memories and friendships which will last a lifetime.

Academic experience

I studied a total of 8 subjects ranging from Japanese language to history, as well as cultural and societal studies of Japan. I really enjoyed learning a large variety of subjects which focused on both Japanese language and cultural frameworks, as it provided me with the opportunity to better understand the country I was living in. One particular challenge I experienced was the amount of work involved within each subject (particularly my Japanese language subject as each week there were quizzes as well as many homework sheets). However, this enhanced my multitasking skills as well as making sure there was a balance between work and play. Though difficult at times, my language skills have definitely improved and I feel more confident when using my Japanese outside of the classroom environment!

Personal experience

By going on exchange to Japan, I was able to travel to a variety of places both within Tokyo as well as on the outskirts of the city. This opportunity to travel was extremely rewarding as I visited local places such as Zushi (a beach-side town), where I was able to watch summer fireworks right on the waterfront with a big crowd of people. Not only this, but the friendships I made throughout my exchange (both in the dormitory and in classes) fundamentally shaped my experience and adventures which took place throughout the semester.

Accommodation

Living in Motosumiyoshi International Dormitory was a great experience for me as I made friends from both Japan and all across the world. It was great to have a cafeteria so we could communicate and even play games together (such as Wii and Uno) throughout the week! I really recommend moving into an international dormitory as you will make friendships which will last a lifetime.

Costs

Budgeting is definitely an important aspect of exchange as it can become a bit expensive through factors such as food, rent, transportation, leisure activities, and travel. My advice would be to refrain from buying touristy items and reducing take out meals to a minimum (as hard as it can be!) in order to travel more, and see places you've always dreamed of visiting!

Professional Development

By studying abroad I have improved and developed my communication and language skills, independence, problem solving abilities as well as multitasking.

Highlight

Overall the biggest highlight of my experience was the friendships I had made and the travelling we did together. I have not only grown as a person, but have met people from across the world who I will keep in touch with and meet up with again in the future. I would recommend going on exchange to anyone as it is truly an unforgettable experience and you will make friends from all around the world!

Top tips

My advice would be to budget wisely in order to travel and experience new things, have a good balance between study and leisure activities, and most importantly have fun!!