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A day in the life of an ACU student in Japan

Tessa – Exchange to Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Semester 2, 2016


A day in the life

Living in Nagoya and studying at the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies quickly settled into a routine and it wasn’t long before I grew accustomed to life in Japan and it began to feel natural. An everyday look into my life would go as follows:

There are two resident dormitories for exchange students at NUFS, International House and Proxy Friends Nisshin. I currently live in Proxy Friends which is located slightly further away from the campus, there’s not much difference between the two residential apartments, but I chose to live in Proxy as even though it is slightly more expensive it offers a bit more freedom, with no curfew and a personal kitchen. The university also offers two different programs: Japanese Language Program (JLP) and Japanese Culture (JLC). I am currently studying Japanese Language and am finding it fascinating – Japanese is so completely different to English and it’s exciting to have the opportunity learn the language whilst living in the country. University is routine and has a strong community spirit with set periods and a huge amount of clubs, life here is more comparable to that of Australian high schools than universities – we even have a school bell and everything.

So, without further ado, here is an example of everyday life for me in Japan.

7.30: Wakeup. Classes for JLP students begin every day at 9am, meaning during the week there’s never much chance for a sleep in. Luckily, living so close to campus means I don’t have to get up too early for travel. In the mornings I generally have breakfast, revise for the tests I have for the day and ride my bike up for the road for school. At school I usually make a stop at the 7-eleven on campus to buy a snack for the break.

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A picture of the 7-eleven on campus

9.00: Classes are very routine for the JL program. On Mondays we have Japanese conversation first period, on Tuesdays to Thursdays we have Japanese Grammar and on Fridays we start off with Kanji. Classes are divided into ten levels based on our language knowledge and there are about ten students in each class. First period grammar classes always start off with a test on vocabulary that we are studying for that lesson, and a grammar quiz based off of what we learnt the day before.

10.50: After first period we have a quick ten minute break before we get stuck back into another hour anda half of Japanese. Second periods on Mondays we study reading comprehension, Tuesdays to Thursdays are a continuation of grammar and on Fridays we have writing composition class.

12.30: Classes are then finished for the day and we head straight downstairs to the main cafeteria for lunch. The university offers a program for exchange students where we can spend our lunchtimes in the “language lounge” chatting with Japanese students in a mixture of languages and getting paid ¥1000 over the lunch hour. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and practice your language skills!

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Lunch from the bakery

1.30: After lunch I’m completely free until the next day when classes start up again! In the afternoons I usually hang with friends on campus getting some homework done or otherwise head home and do some cleaning and cooking or taking a nap.

4.30: For some ridiculous reason the sun sets here by 5pm, meaning that night hits very fast and very hard. But living on the top floor of the building gives me a magnificent view of the setting sun and it is always beautiful. Every afternoon around this time I take a break and sit out on my balcony to read a book and watch the sky turn colour before I head back to my studies.

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A sunset from the other night

6.30: Round 6/6:30 I generally take a break from studying, have my tea and maybe watch some tv or make skype calls to family and friends back home. I usually either eat food I’ve prepared earlier (probably taco rice, spaghetti or a curry), head down to a friend’s room and share pot luck dishes or else go out for dinner (sushi, ramen or katsudon are all delicious and cheap).

9.00: At 9 I typically go round to a friend’s room if I’m not already there and we have group study sessions trying to cram for tomorrow’s tests or get through the huge pile of grammar drills we get set for homework. Then round about 11:00 we usually head out for a walk to the family mart and grab ourselves some snacks (mostly icecream) to end off the day!

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A late night icecream run where we ran into other exchange students at the family mart

All in all my life here has become very routine and I have settled into it quite easily, but it has not at all become monotonous! The structure of uni life here is completely different from that of back home and experiencing life in student housing has been so exciting!