Ever since I was a middle-school student, I was interested in Japanese pop culture such as J-pop music, TV, animation and so on. This interest naturally extended to further interest in overall Japanese language and society. More than just having interest in Japan, I felt that I need to know properly about ?eal?Japan, based on my own perspective and experience. Also, I just simply wanted a fresh change in my monotonous routine of college life. Finally, I decided to spend one year in Japan as an exchange student to Nagoya University, Japan.
To many Koreans, maybe Nagoya is known for Sun Dong-yeol, who is still known as ?un of Nagoya.?Mr. Sun played an active part in Chunichi dragons (Nagoya-based baseball team) about ten years ago. Nagoya is a nice and pleasant place to live. The city is located almost in the geographic center of Japan. Nagoya University is one of the foremost national universities in Japan. Like Ewha, the size of the school is quite large. Especially, there are a large number of foreign students studying in Nagoya University. Although I was in Japan, I had chances to meet students from all around the world, and experience diverse culture.
Since I previously had some sense of Japanese culture learned from cultural contents and previous travel experience, I did not suffer seriously from culture shock. However, adjusting to new environment was an inevitable process anyhow. There were many cultural differences which are hardly recognized during travel, such as Japanese students?drinking culture or bus arriving right at the time written on the time schedule. I began to recognize the ?eal?characteristics of Japanese people and society, not based on biased facts which were already filtered by other people? perspectives, but based on my own experience in everyday life.
In order to experience "real" Japan, I was enthusiastic about traveling around Japan. It made travel as much as I can above all my ambitious plans. The geographical location of Nagoya was convenient for traveling. I went many places in Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. It was really exciting to experience and find out each region? different and unique local characteristic.
An important thing which helped me to become more interculturally competent person was life in dormitory. I stayed in a dormitory where Japanese students and foreign students live together. It was very good environment for meeting Japanese students as well as other international students in daily life. When I meet them at the common kitchen in the meal time, I could have a taste of various world food.
One year I spent in Japan was one of the best moments in my life. I escaped from tough reality, and could fully enjoy my life. Especially, I was really excited to see the concert of J-pop artists, because it had been my dream since my teen years. Above all, I grew up a lot during spending a year in Japan. It was first time for me to live alone. By managing time and money wisely by myself, I became more independent. Living in the different culture and environment made me to become a more open-minded person.
Above all, I grew up a lot during a year in Japan. Living in the different environment made me become a more open-minded person. I really miss my relaxed life in Japan.
- Kim A-ram (International Studies, 3) went to Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan for a year as an exchange student.