Brett - Waseda University

Bachelor of Arts
Semester 2, 2017 and Semester 1, 2018
For myself, exchange is a highly recommended, liberating and unforgettable experience.

Academic experience

The enrolment process at Waseda University is initially somewhat daunting, but once you figure out how it works, it's quite straight forward. I was enrolled into the JLP (Japanese Language Program) which runs for 1 year. You are required to take a minimum of 13 credits per semester, with each course you select being worth 1 credit ranging to 5 credits. During my second semester I was taking around 9 different courses, which at first is difficult to get your head around, coming from 4 courses at UQ. However, once you learn where all the classes are located and familiarise yourself with the requirements for each course, it becomes very manageable. Waseda's JLP excels in that there is a massive range of courses you can choose from, such as Reading Japanese History, or classes specifically catered for learning new Kanji.

Personal experience

As I have been to Japan before, it was fantastic to catch up with old friends while studying at Waseda. However, I would say the highlight for me was making many new friends from all over the world. It was incredibly easy to strike up new friendships from just a simple hello, and from this I have forged new lifelong friendships and now have places to stay all over the world. One of my main goals for my exchange was to improve my Japanese language ability which I have achieved! It's a great feeling to be able recognise your own personal growth!

Accommodation

I was lucky to stay in one of the closer dormitories near to the campus. It was about 5 minutes away on foot, which meant I could always sleep in just a little longer! The majority of the tenants living there were Waseda students who all arrived at a similar time I did. Although this particular dormitory was a little pricey (Waseda Hoshien), it was worth the cost in the end due to its convenience and location.

Costs

Rent was undoubtedly the most expensive aspect of my trip. However, entertainment, such as going out for a drink or dinner with friends, while seemingly cheap, can add up very quickly in one night. Because I lived so close to Campus, transport wasn't a big issue for me.

Professional Development

My primary goal for exchange was to improve my Japanese level and gain greater insight on the Japanese language's foundations. I believe the 1 year JLP has definitely brought me closer to my goals for the future.

Highlight

The highlight from my exchange would have to be my camping trip to a music festival held on the cusp of Mount Fuji. It was a breathtaking and unforgettable experience.

Top tips

While many students only go for 1 semester, if you are able to, I would advise to go for 2 semesters. As people usually go on exchange once, it's liberating to push yourself to enjoy and grow through the full length experience.