5 of our Shrewsbury Alumni in Japan tell us what life is like living in Tokyo and studying at university there. May, Lookpla and K-Tung at Waseda and Sayaka and Nuey at Keio.
“Life there isn’t just a journey into something new, it’s both a fantastic challenge and overwhelming adventure. I had the chance to hike up mountains as well as being exposed to the busy city rush hours there almost every day. The language barrier was a huge problem at first, but as you stay there and start to adapt to the society, you will find out that even simple things here in Thailand that are actually difficult in Japan, turns out to be very easy once you have friends that can understand Japanese. Life there overall is fantastic because you don’t just get to have good food or non-sense shopping, you are exposed to something you will never regret having done so!” Lookpla (’16)
“My name is Sayaka Ashida and I graduated Shrewsbury in 2015. I am currently studying in Keio University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics. In university, I am part of the Co-op Student Committee and also I am a manager of a football team. My friendship groups are formed within my club activities and I made amazing memories with them. For example, we went to the beach in Enoshima, watched the fireworks in Yokohama during the summer, and also went skiing in Nagano. Since I am studying in Japanese right now, I realized I didn’t have an opportunity to speak in English as much as I did when I was in Thailand. Having attempts in working at a café and a restaurant, I settled in working at an English school. Being a teacher at an English school helps me maintain my English skills. It is such a great experience being a teacher because it is allowing me to be more open-minded when trying to look for methods to explain vocabulary or sentences as clearly as possible. Although I am Japanese, living here is a new experience for me so I am enjoying every single moment when I meet new people, travel to new places and discover something new.” Sayaka (’15)
“Living in Japan is great. The culture and lifestyle is a real highlight for me. However, overcoming the language barrier has been difficult and stressful at times. Overall a very fulfilling experience.” K-Tung (’16)
It was an amazing experience being a Hula dance leader for the university fair. I, who cannot speak fluent Japanese, had to teach dance steps to other Japanese students, which was one of the hardest things I have ever done since I came to Japan. By working with all Japanese students, I practiced the language, learnt the culture and connected to new people outside of my faculty. I have learnt how serious Japanese people were and so I was probably one of the most relaxed leaders this club has ever had. May (’14)
The main highlight of studying here in Japan would undoubtedly have to be no other than the fact that I am in a country with such unique culture and history, giving me opportunities for me to explore. Being in an international program, I got to experience the best of both worlds- connecting with many third-culture students as well as trying to integrate and interact with the Japanese students. The language barrier was frustrating and the process of having to slowly adjust to the culture shock was indeed difficult, but it was worthwhile and I learnt a lot from the experience. Nuey (’16)