留学生インタビュー

Why did you want to study in Japan?

I am studying the Japanese language and culture at Leiden University in the Netherlands. I wanted to study in Japan because I thought it was an indispensable experience for improving my Japanese language skills as well as deepening my understanding of Japanese culture.

How did you become interested in the Japanese
language and culture?

My mother is Japanese and my father is Dutch. My mother was born in Chiba Prefecture and has relatives in Tokyo. I visited Japan many times before coming here to study, and I started learning Japanese because I wanted to be able to speak more with my relatives in Japanese. Since I was small, my impression of Japan was that it was comfortable place to live and that it was a very modern country with excellent technology. That is why I have always been interested in Japanese culture and history. Furthermore, there is a strong interest in the Netherlands in the Japanese language and culture. The year before I enrolled in the course, the enrollment limit for the Japanese Language and Culture Course at Leiden University used to be 20 people. My year, it was increased to 100 people, and it further increased to 150 people one year later. I think that Japanese Manga and animation is one of the major reasons for this strong interest in Japan.

What kind of procedures did you undergo before
coming to Japan to study?

Last January, 20 students from Leiden University's Japanese Language and Culture Course expressed a desire to go to Japan to study. Four students were ultimately chosen after interviews, etc., and it was decided that I would go to Japan under the JASSO International Student Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan. The three other students were to go to Japan as Japanese Language and Japanese Culture Research Students under the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship. My professor told me about the JASSO International Student Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan when I was doing research about scholarships for studying in Japan. I submitted several documents myself, but my professor handled almost all of the necessary procedures for me.

Why did you choose Kyusyu University?
What kind of a learning program are you taking there?

My professor recommended Kyushu University. In looking back, I think it was because my professor thought that the program I am taking now was the most suitable one for me to improve my Japanese language skills. I am taking the Japanese Language and Culture Course (JLCC) at Kyushu University. The enrollment limit for this program is 20 people. A criterion for participating in this course is that you have passed Level 1 of the Japanese Proficiency Test or possess equivalent proficiency in the Japanese language. Classes are from Mondays to Fridays, with about two one-and-a-half-hour classes everyday. There is a lot of homework assigned, and it was quite difficult keeping up with the classes. Other than the JLCC, I am also taking some classes from Japan in Today's World: A Short-term Academic Program for International Students (JTW) in which we learn about Japanese culture in English. I am also taking one Faculty of Law class in Japanese with Japanese students. The class with the Japanese students was quite difficult in the beginning, but after a while, I started understanding 70 to 80 percent of what was being said. It was a very good learning experience, and I thought that it would be good if there were more classes like that in the JLCC program which you can take with Japanese students.

How is life in Fukuoka?What kind of opportunities
do you have to interact with Japanese people?

The people of Fukuoka are very open towards foreigners. They treat us cheerfully and kindly. It is not as big as Tokyo, but it is still very urban. Furthermore, it is an area blessed with nature with the ocean and mountains very close by. For this reason, there is less stress in daily life, and I find it a more comfortable place to live than Tokyo. I think it is a good location for foreign students to study. Thanks to a student that the university has assigned to me as my tutor, I didn’t have experience any inconveniences in my daily life. He and I became very good friends after spending one year together. I also joined the rock music circle at the university. I played guitar in a band and performed on campus and at clubs with live music in the city. I think this circle became my first opportunity to join the Japanese community. Outside of the circle, people tend to treat me special as a foreign student. However, I am treated as one of the members in the circle. I had a hard time in the beginning with the Hakata accent. Also, because I had my life as a foreign student and because I wanted to take good care of my relationship with my tutor, I did not have time for a very close relationship with my friends from the circle, like going out drinking with them. However, I think that participating in the circle was a good experience that allowed me to come into direct contact with real Japanese society.

What is your future dream or goal?

Next year, after I go back to Leiden University and graduate, I would like to study again at Kyushu University, but this time at the Faculty of Law as a Japanese Government (Mombukagakusho) Scholarship student majoring in international law. I am already starting to make preparations for this. After that, I am currently thinking that I might become a researcher after completing a doctoral program or work at an international organ like UNESCO because I am interested in education.

Do you have any message for people in the Netherlands
who would like to come to Japan to study?

I think that studying in Japan is essential for those under me at university who are studying the Japanese language or culture. Meeting and interacting with foreign students from various parts of the world is also a good opportunity for nurturing a global mindset. I highly recommend going to Japan to study.

Uploaded on 19th September 2008