Brendon - Waseda University

Bachelor of Science
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

At Waseda University, I studied Comprehensive Japanese 1, Conversation 1, Think and Speak 1, Explaining life in Japanese 1, Japanese Pronunciation 1, Grammar Particles 1, Appropriate Expressions 1. 

Lectures are structured as classes, with about 30 students in each class, so it's very easy to ask the lecturer questions and discuss any areas you may have trouble with. Waseda University uses a lottery system where you apply for your wanted courses and then see if you've secured a position in the first round, if unsuccessful then you move onto the second and third round until you have fulfilled the requirement of 13 tani for an equivalent semester at UQ. 

The only real challenge was that courses do require mandatory attendance to lectures, however you can have around 1/3 absence from lectures so this gives you plenty of time to do the things you want. Just be sure to let your lecturer know in advance!

Personal experience

With such a rare opportunity to experience life in a different country for months, I did my best in going to all the places I wanted (and was financially able to). 

This includes: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Okinawa (scuba-diving at the blue cave), Nikko, Kusatsu, Ueda, Nagano, Odaiba, Shizuoka and even to the top of Mt. Fuji!

Through all of these places, I was accompanied by the best companions with whom I practised my Japanese skills with to the point of being able to speak comfortably without having to feel nervous or reserved. It also forced me to develop my time management and budgeting skills to balance out school work and my finances.

Accommodation

I lived off-campus in my own private apartment, as I preferred the comfort of my own privacy as well as my own facilities. Waseda does provide assistance for those who choose this option, by linking you with foreigner friendly real estate agencies. The university itself has a few different dorms all within walking distance, however they do have very stringent rules and policies, and are not afraid of enforcing them should they have to. 

In the end, your decision should depend on whether you prefer talking to the person in the next shower cubicle over, or rather collect your own thoughts in the comfort of your own shower! Regardless, make sure it's within walking distance as trains and subways in Japan are a nightmare during rush hour.

Costs

Though hard to recommend a budget as each person has a different spending habit, I used approximately $250~$300 a week to live a carefree but responsible life in Japan. This excludes rent, which was approximately 99,000yen per month, whilst dorm goers pay approximately 60,000yen a month.

Professional Development

With the ability to speak English, Korean, Chinese and now Japanese, I believe that my portfolio would gain a competitive advantage for when I choose to move my career into Asia.

Highlight

As cliche as it sounds, it's hard to pick one single moment as the highlight of my entire experience. My favourite moments were during the times I was travelling Japan with friends, getting to see the sides of Japan outside of Tokyo really made me appreciate what they had to offer apart from mega-city lifestyles. Not only that, but being able to converse freely in conversation with locals and Japanese friends gave me a sense of accomplishment like no other.

Top tips

Always be sure to budget and plan ahead for the future, in case you ever wanted to do anything or go somewhere. Most importantly though, just enjoy yourself!