Wednesday, 18 August 2010

FAS at UKC – Japan Universities

For Anthropology Students at UKC
First of all I’m going to point out the pros and cons of going to Japan, not matter what University you choose:
-Learn Japanese quickly
-Meet lots of interesting people from around the world
-Experience something new
-Get a good grade towards your degree (it is apparently quite easy to get a 1st abroad as long as you work hard)
-Away from home for just under a year
-Added cost to loan at end of degree (but I’d say it’s worth the experience –you only live once)

You have a choice out of three universities in Japan on the Anthropology degree. These are APU in Beppu, Kansai Gaidai near Osaka, and Waseda in Tokyo. Each has their pros and cons and the choice depends on you and what sort of person you are and what you want out of the year abroad. I’m going to Kansai Gaidai and so I know the most about it. If you are thinking of choosing one of the others and have questions then I suggest e-mailing the other students who are going/have been to those ones.
In all the Universities you study Japanese Language and sociological/anthropological modules based on East Asia, although I think in some cases you have the option to choose modules in business and religion.
Reitsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu is the default choice and every Anthropology student is confirmed a place here. It is located on top of a mountain overlooking the town and the sea. Beppu is located in the south of Japan in Kyuushuu. It is a very beautiful area and I was lucky enough to visit it for a week during my gap-year. The town itself has a lot of international students, mostly Chinese and Korean. It has all the shops you could need and some really nice tourist spots like the 9 Hells (which are coloured onsen) and just normal onsen you really do need to try out, then there’s THE MOST amazing aquarium ever. To be honest the web-page is not very useful but I do know that many people who have gone in the past have loved it. The University provides accommodation that’s 446,750 yen for the year that’s on campus. You choose your modules when you apply and there are clubs and societies to meet people.
-A guaranteed place at the university
-Access to interesting countryside and areas people don’t normally visit
-Lots of interesting places inside Beppu
-Far from any main tourist areas
-The University is situated out of the town so a bus is needed to get in
Kansai Gaidai in Hirakata is located along the main line between Kyoto and Osaka. This means the area is rural but it’s easy to get into the larger city and tourist areas. The University itself provides a wide range of modules with compulsory Japanese (all of which can be seen on the website). You choose your modules in Japan although it’s good idea to look them over beforehand. Accommodation is provided although you do have to stay in a room with another person (you can request who you stay with or whether you want to be with a Japanese student or not). Each accommodation has shared kitchens and bathrooms and living space (a good opportunity to meet other international students). The accommodation price is fair at 200,000 yen for each semester (or 400,000yen for a year which is about £3000) in the cheaper dormitories. Or you can stay in home stay with a Japanese family (320,000yen per semester), something I strongly suggest you try out, possibly in the second semester when your Japanese is more confident. Most of the international students are American as it’s a foreign languages University (so the Japanese students are normally learning a foreign language just as the foreign students are learning Japanese). There are also a lot of clubs/societies which you only choose one of but it’s a good way to meet people with similar interests. The University also provides a Japanese partner program and an option to visit Japanese families at the weekend (this may also be available in other Universities). One thing though, there are normally only 2 places available at Kansai for Kent students (3 at a push)
-Easy access to Osaka and Kyoto
-Wide range of modules and societies
-Reasonably priced accommodation
-Japanese partner/family program
-Shared rooms in accommodation
-Only 2-3 spaces for UKC students
Wadeda University in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is in the centre of one of the largest, busiest metropolises in the world. Not only that but it is considered to be the second most prestigious university in Japan, it’s like going to Cambridge. This means the work and students are a bit more serious then at the other universities. I e-mailed a student who went last year and she said:

“Out of 50,000 only about 2,000 is foreign but you do not really see it as most of them are Chinese and Korean. Waseda also has several campuses and I am staying in one of them. Most of the foreign students seem to stay at home stay though. In my campus all rooms are single with a separate male and female bathroom/shower in the corridor. A kitchen is shared by about 15 people but we all have a fridge in our rooms.
Waseda area is in between two bigger centers i.e. Ikebukuro and Shinjuku. Closest tube stations are within 5 min walk and a train station about 15 min. In addition buses are available. Several grocery stores, restaurants, cafes are located around the campus and just outside it. The student union has a coop bookstore and a grocery store as well. Japan Anthropology has been a great module. There a several other you can choose from regarding gender studies, religions, urban studies, politics, etc.
They take Japanese studies more seriously than Ritsumeikan or the one in Osaka. We have nine hours of Japanese each week plus loads of homework. Even if you have never studied any Japanese before you have to study nine hours each week. They are more strict about attendance as well and you can miss only 30% of your classes. The normal length of a class is also longer i.e. 90 min.”

-Prestigious university
-Centre of Tokyo
-Home stay available
-Lots of Japanese students
-Individual rooms in accommodation
-Expensive accommodation
-Stricter classes
-Only 1 space for UKC students

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