This month, the Chung-Ang Herald interviewed Park Bo-eun, who is majoring in Japanese. She has been to Kyushu University which is located in Fukuoka, Japan as an exchange student.
How is Kyushu’s environment different from Chung-Ang University?
The way in which they received registration for classes was rather peculiar, because according to my memory, the number of students allowed to take a class wasn’t fixed. The way that homework was given out was basically similar, with the usual reports and so on. Also, I’m not sure if other universities in Korea have this too, but there was a separate designated time for recess, or resting time and I felt that to be especially convenient.
Are there any facilities or programs that help out foreign exchange students?
There are classes especially for the foreign students and there are a variety of these classes, so students can choose which one they want. I noticed that there were many professors who paid special attention to the foreign exchange students. Other than this, the center for foreign exchange students helps out students a lot.
What was the most hardest and enjoyable experience while studying in Japan?
Regarding school work, I would have to say that preparing material for presentations or reports was the hardest. When I was in Korea, I would skim through several pages and easily be able to figure out which texts were important, relatively not important, or whether it was from a reliable source, then pick out the information that I needed. However, it was rather difficult to pick out the information that I needed while studying in Japan, since I was not so familiar with the Japanese internet sites. The assignments where I simply had to read, or memorize some material were not so bad. The fun part of being an exchange student was when I got to meet new people in school clubs. I also thought it was interesting that so many people got around on their bicycles. Also on the New Years, I went to an event and was able to try some traditional Japanese food and participate in various activities. I would have to say that experiencing the culture is the most exciting thing to do when going to a foreign country.
Is there anything in particular that students should know about Japan’s culture or customs?
Well, the first thing that comes to mind right now is how everyone threw the toilet paper in the toilet, and not in the trash can. This might seem like a very minor thing but I still think that students should keep this in mind since it is related to public etiquette. Also, this might differ among individuals, but students should know that Japanese people really don’t like causing harm to people in any way, and think of consideration as a very important virtue. However, because of this widely spread characteristic, some Japanese people may not be so good at actively approaching new people, so you might feel that they are keeping at a distance from you. Students should not take this personally, since it is just how the Japanese culture is. Also there is a sort of stereotype that individualism is severe in Japan, but I feel that it is more appropriate to say that they are very careful when dealing with people.
Do you have any advice for those who want to go to Japan as an exchange student? < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
Basically, students who do well here will also most likely do well in Japan, but I don’t think that students should expect to get good grades at a school in a foreign country if they were not able to do so well here at Chung-Ang. Regarding admittance into Kyushu University, I needed to get a rank 1 on the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). There was also another test held by Chung-Ang University in which I had to go through an interview. Anyway, I feel that it is important for students to be willing to make new friends and have an active attitude in all activities if they want to enjoy being an exchange student. No matter which school you go to, students will definitely have something to earn by experiencing life as an exchange student, so I hope that students will take time to plan well ahead before going.