Name: LEUNG Man To
Host Institution: Kansai Gaidai University (Japan)
Term of Exchange: Term 1, 2018-19
My four-month exchange study in Japan had just come to an end. I am really glad that I did not miss out this precious chance to study abroad. Although my stay in Japan was relatively short, my life at Kansai Gaidai University was very meaningful and irreplaceable to me. It was not only a time filled with joy and excitement, but also a wonderful opportunity for me to achieve my personal goals.
During this semester-long exchange study, one of my greatest achievements was making friends with who come from diverse backgrounds. I met students from different prefectures of Japan, America, Singapore, Taiwan etc. and made friends with them. Before I headed off to Japan, my target was just to make friends with local Japanese students. But surprisingly, I somehow managed to jump out of my comfort zone to be more extrovert under the international environment successfully cultivated by Kansai Gaidai University. I was assigned to buddies from countries other than Japan. And even the number of local Japanese friends that I had was much more than my expectation. Having around one hundred new friends in Japan, I believe my objective in terms of friend making was completed. I would never forget the joy when I successfully prepared a Japanese cuisine with the instructions from the local students.
Besides, my Japanese language ability improved a lot after living in Japan for a few months. Although I studied Japanese before, I could not communicate fluently with others in Japanese. However, after immersed myself into the Japanese living for four months, I am now able and confident to talk to people in Japanese. This has given me great satisfaction because being able to have daily conversation in Japanese had been my dream since I was young. During my stay at Kansai Gaidai University, I took advanced level Japanese classes and kept practicing the language with my Japanese friends. If I had not studied abroad in Japan, I would not be able to learn Japanese by attending classes and speaking with the local Japanese.
In addition, I have learned much more about Japanese culture after this journey. I participated in a few traditional festivals in Japan and visited cultural attractions such as the Osaka Castle and various museums to get a better understanding about Japanese history as well as their unique culture. For example, the Japanese carry a heavy danjiri (a wooden cart without wheels) and sing traditional ballad to celebrate festivals, and they respect the gods wholeheartedly to the extent of having detailed steps to pray. By living in Japan to experience and explore their culture, I achieved my objective of knowing more about Japanese culture including Japanese manner, ways to celebrate different festivals, entertainment, food and so on.
Overall speaking, my experience in Japan in the past four months is priceless to me. It would have been my biggest regret if I had not grabbed the chance to study abroad in Japan, in Kansai Gaidai University.