Nagoya University of Foreign Studies
Student Experience - Japan
Exchange Student, Kevin Lohman
Nagoya University, Japan – Fall 2008
“There were lots of foreign (English speaking, Chinese, and French) students living in close proximity, which made living more like home.”
The Japanese Visa was easy to obtain at Japanese consulate in Honolulu. Total process took around a week. Before my departure I received, Letters and contact information, as well as e-mail. Nagoya University was very helpful and welcoming. For travel arrangements, I got travel information and travelers insurance (not actually required in Japan as you have to pay for national health insurance anyway) through statravel.com. This agency has discounted airline tickets for students.
Once I arrived in Japan along with other exchange students, students from the Foreign Student Club at Nagoya were eager to meet us at the train station, and help with anything we needed. Orientation to dorm life was provided both in English and Japanese, and everyone was exceptionally helpful. There was a week long orientation, and was very informative. The University went to great lengths to take care of our needs (including setting up bank accounts for scholarship payments, and providing lots of interesting trips and tours to participate in).
Classes were estimated before arrival, but selected in Japan. Information available on the website matched what actually existed. Classes began in early September, and end December 12th. I had to purchase books, but text books in Japan are quite cheap - $20 per book, around $150 total. The quality of the classes was better then many HPU classes I have taken, teachers at Nagoya were prepared and enthusiastic to be teaching foreign students. I signed up to take 5 courses – 1) Japanese Language, 6 hours per week, 10 weeks; 2) Issues in global business in Japan, 1.5 hours per week, 10 weeks; 3) Japanese Business, 1.5 hours per week, 10 weeks; 4) Japans Economic Power, 1.5 hours per week, 10 weeks (and field trip); 5) A3 Thinking (Toyota business style), 1.5 hours per week, 10 weeks (and field trip). A3 Thinking was very interesting; the Sensei (teacher) was a former President of Toyota. Japanese business taught by Professor Shima was quite informative, with unique a prospective on international business practices. All the classes I took were worthwhile.
While there I stayed at the International Dorm, it was reserved for me shortly after getting in contact with the University. There were lots of foreign (English speaking, Chinese, and French) students living in close proximity, which made living more like home. Monthly rent was taken from a Japanese student scholarship automatically, and was around $230 per month. International calls were possible with calling card; rooms had phones with Japanese numbers but had no ability to call out. Most students (myself included) used the free internet to make phone calls through the internet using Skype. Banks charge a small conversion fee for ATM withdraws, the University had ATMs as well as 7-11 down the street. The University sets you up with a local Japan Post bank account and puts scholarship money into the account. It is possible to live off this stipend alone, depending on lifestyle. On average an exchange student would spend about $800-$1500 dollars per month depending on how many times you eat-out, shop, travel, etc.
English is widely used, and I learned a workable amount of Japanese quickly thanks to the competence of the Japanese Language teachers. Some students experience culture shock, but the stay was thoroughly enjoyable.
Students are encouraged to join student clubs. There are also Tennis courts, and a gym on campus that are free for students to use. Wireless internet, as well as public computers, is available in the dorms (I-House) and around campus, all for free.
Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto are all very interesting. Sign up for many of the school tours, including castle tour and pottery making. Do a home stay, and get out of the dorms to experience the country! The greatest point was making new friends. I love Nagoya, and the school. EXCELLENT opportunity! Japan is wonderful and Nagoya is exciting and beautiful. がんばって！