Alyssa – Kansai Gaidai University, Japan
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Creative Industries
For Semester 2 of 2019 I went on exchange to Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka during their fall semester. I had some trouble settling into a completely different lifestyle and social culture but once I had adjusted, it was obvious to me that going on exchange is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Kansai Gaidai University
KGU was roughly a 45 minute train ride from both the centre of Osaka and Kyoto, making it a great place to study because it was only a train ride from two major tourist attractions in Japan. The dormitories were located on-campus and housed exchange students and local Japanese students which provided exchange students a good opportunity to practice their Japanese, learn more about Japanese culture and make local friends. I became really good friends with other exchange students from Canada, Finland and some local Japanese students from Kobe and Matsusaka. There was a really strong sense of family within the dorms, with each dormitory unit celebrating each other’s birthdays.
Japan was fairly cheap, with filling meals costing around 300-500yen at the school cafeteria. There were many convenience stores and vending machines that offered more variety, still at an affordable price. My favourite part about shopping in Japan was the thrift stores, which were nicely curated with different fashion styles that appealed to anyone for a very affordable price – perfect for university students! The public transport in Japan was also amazing, with trains running every 5-10 minutes even when it wasn’t peak hour, and they all arrived on time! It was a welcome change from our beloved TransLink buses that may or may not show up at the bus stop.
The food in Japan was wonderful. The school cafeteria offered a large variety of meals to choose from, including katsudon, ramen, Japanese curry and udon. Even convenience store food was delicious, which I certainly wouldn’t expect if I got food from a 7-Eleven in Brisbane. I noticed that a lot of Japanese people drank green tea more than they drank water, which surprised me a little bit. Energy drinks were sold in a lot of vending machines for around 200-300yen depending on how big the can was. Red Bull and Monster energy drinks were even sold in the vending machine in the lobby of the dorms!
My favourite memories
Overall my exchange to KGU was really fun and eye-opening. I got the opportunity to meet people from different countries, create solid friendships, learn a new language and explore a beautiful country.
My favourite memory of my Japan exchange is taking a night bus and going to Tokyo by myself for a few days and practicing the Japanese that I learnt in a setting that wasn’t in the classroom.
This exchange motivated me to continue learning the Japanese language and I would highly recommend going to KGU for exchange if you’re interested in Japan!