Etsuo’s Corner: Universities

Over the last two weeks, I’ve introduced students who studied abroad in Japan. So this week, I would like to introduce the Japanese universities they studied at. Guilford has a partnership with two universities in Japan, and both colleges have unique characteristics. I hope that you might gain some interest in studying in Japan by reading this.

One of the universities is International Christian University, which is the college I attended. ICU is one of the most globalized universities in Japan. On the campus, there are many exchange students and students who studied outside of Japan before coming to ICU.

On my first day, I was surprised by the diversity of the student body. Many of them spoke English, which was unusual for me. But as I studied there, I was able to understand different perspectives and meet people from a variety of backgrounds. I learned a lot from these experiences. In addition, ICU is 30 minutes away from the center of Tokyo, so its location allows students to visit the capital city of Japan easily.

This university is also one of most traditional liberal arts institutions in Japan. Like Guilford, ICU provides a lot of courses and offers 31 majors. Students can choose what they want to learn among those majors.

Japanese students at ICU are required to take an English course, which was hard for these students. Because it was such a difficult situation, I did not want to go to class at f irst.

Conversely, for students whose mother tongue is English, there are Japanese courses. I heard that is also a similarly challenging course, and I remember an exchange student saying the Japanese class is very hard. So, I think it is one of the best environments to study Japanese.

The next is Kansai Gaikokugo University. To introduce this university, I interviewed Honami Inoue, a Japanese international student who went to KGU and came to Guilford as an exchange student.

“This university was founded after the World War II, and it focuses on educating students to be globally-minded persons. The university is famous for its diversity of students and environment. There are more than 750 international students who are studying on the campus every year. I remember I was surprised by the diversity when I went to the cafeteria because there were so many international students.

“There are several programs so that international students can get substantial support to study in Japan. For example, the ‘speaking partner program’ is a program where international students can get a speaking partner to not only get help, but also understand other cultures.

“I also joined the program and got a speaking partner. I met my partner twice a week. We taught each other Japanese and English, had meals together and I introduced them to Japanese culture. I still keep in contact with my friends after the program. In the ‘home visit program,’ students can visit Japanese students’ houses and experience Japanese culture.

“Furthermore, the campus is located in Osaka, and it is very close to Kyoto, Japan’s most traditional city. So many international students can go there with Japanese students by using the ‘Experience Japan’ program.

“For international students or exchange students, there is a Japanese language program. Most of the classes international students take are Japanese language classes. They also can take other courses. Outside the class, there are many programs where you can make friends with Japanese students and experience Japanese culture.”

I was surprised to learn from Inoue that there are many programs which support international students at KGU. In ICU, there are not as many programs that help international students. I think KGU must be a very attractive option for incoming international students for this reason.

The good point of ICU is its small campus and how easy it is for students to get to know one another. Both universities have many great qualities and valuable opportunities, so if you are interested in studying in Japan, I would suggest studying in one of those colleges.