Periods again?

Woah, it has been for-freakin’-ever since I’ve last written a blog post… I’ve been working on this one, but I never uploaded it because I thought it wasn’t finished. Ah well, time to finish it off!

I was trying to think of a really creative title to get people to read my blogs. How did I do?! Don’t know if succeeding or failing miserably… Anyway, this is just a small update to the previous blog that I wrote about. For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog about Japanese universities, I’m just comparing university life between Australia and Japan. Main differences so far has been the orientation process and the way that clubs/circles run in Japan.

Don't know if high school or Japanese university...
My thoughts right now in Japan…

This meme is pretty much an accurate description of what life at Hokkaido University of Education (HUE) is like at the moment. Brief description being: it’s not what I’m used to, but it seems very much like high school in Australia. Why would I think that university is anything like high school? If anything, it’s much worse. In Sydney, we describe university as taking the Higher School Certificate (HSC) 4 times (for each subject you do) in a semester (that’s a period of about 14 weeks). High school was just having fun and partying around. Sure, you had the occasional assignment/presentation/speech etc, but comparing university and high school, it’s a whole new playing field. So, what is it like being at a Japanese university? Let’s start with the basics…

First off, classes. At the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) we have classes at various times dependent on the classes that you decide to choose. There may be more than one of the same class, but this is due to the demand that we have of students. Your classes could range from 8am starts to 9pm finishes, depending on your chosen timetable. Everything is based on your choices, unless it’s a lecture that is auto-allocated. At HUE, the classes run slightly different. They actually run in periods. There are 6 periods in a day and each period goes for 90 minutes. Don’t worry, there isn’t a bell to tell you that class is over. There’s a 10 minute break in between each period and there’s a lunch break which gives 50 minutes for you to either spend time in a club or circle, eat lunch in a very jam-packed cafeteria (with really super duper cheap food by the way; love the cafeteria) or purchase snacks at the Co-op bookstore, as it also seems like a convenient store. As an exchange student, we are technically only allowed to take the classes that other exchange students are in because this is a specified course. However, if you feel that your Japanese proficiency is almost fluent, you are encouraged to take on normal classes that Japanese students would take. The minimum amount of subjects we have to take is 7. That’s 7 90 minute classes that you’ll need to be attending in a week. That’s not too bad if you ask me. Go ahead and ask UNSW Science kids how they feel.

If you’re a UTS student currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and in the Japan major, I highly recommend you choose HUE as a university to go to. This place is not only lovely and full of natural scenery, the classes are also very helpful and insightful to where you need to be going. Each class has a goal. For example, if you are not sure what level you are in for Japanese, the classes range from N3-N4 class with the goal being to hit N3 level. If you are feeling more challenged, there are N2-N3 classes with the goal to hit N2. You are also encouraged to take exams whenever you can so that your level is solidified. This place would be lovely to attend to if you want to attain that level of proficiency.

The classes are not what I’m used to. Being an Arts student (Education and International Studies), I’m not used to seeing or been given homework or the like. Assignments, I can deal with. Every class that you take will be bound to give you homework, but fret not, there are classes there for fun too. For example, we have a Hokkaido International Foundation (HIF) class where these people come in from outside the school and teach you bits and pieces about everything. One of our previous classes was about “oyaji gyagu”, that translates to “old man gag” which is really a play on words or a pun. Another class that we have is a tour class, where we explore the community outside the classroom and interact with locals. We visit places that have special meaning in Hakodate and it’s lovely to get to know the place. These classes are a lot of fun to take and you’ll be making friends/enemies/frenemies with all the other exchange kids because you’re always gonna see each other! 😛

Overall, school life is a mix between university and high school back in Australia, which seems strange, but you’ll get used to it really quickly. I think that’s pretty much all for now! I can’t think of what else to write, but you best know that if I come up with anything, it’ll be right here. If there’s anything that you want to know about as well, that’s cool too – pop a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.



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