Nagoya University: Spring '05
Opinions about the program: Overall, I felt that the time I spent
at Nagoya University was great. The NUPACE program really works
hard at accommodating exchange students and helps out whenever
they are needed. Perhaps the thing that I found the most enjoyable
was the dorm life. Granted, I had at first wanted a home stay experience
(which could have been done throughout the year, there are various
short term homestays over the breaks), but I found the dorm life
to be natural and very friendly. Some students had problems with
the people on their floors, but I made an effort to talk and be
with the Japanese students, and even now I am still talking with
them (when I can).
Nagoya itself is a great city. It’s big, but not too big. After a while, you really begin to feel comfortable going around the city and finding things to do. By the end of the year, Nagoya felt like a place that I could call home without feeling really big and imposing (it was really the first time I had spent a good deal of time in a large city). There’s always plenty to do, see, and explore, so having that at my fingertips was really nice.
Courses: The NUPACE program offered many different kinds of courses,
in addition to the required Japanese courses. The NUPACE staff-taught
courses mainly focused on Japan: history, politics, culture, etc.
These courses were very helpful in learning more about Japan. Aside
from the NUPACE courses, you could take anything from math and
engineering courses to literature courses. Depending on what your
major is, you’ll have a few more options available to you.
If you’re a math/science/political science major, you’ll
find that you have more courses to choose from (although you don’t
necessarily have to be a major to take those course, I found that
those courses drew people who were majoring in those said fields).
The literature/language classes were a little sparse, but the ones
that I took I learned a lot from. I’d taken Architecture
of English, American Literature, Bible as Literature, and Language
As for credit transfers, it was very easy. All of my credits transferred over from Nagoya University, and it was a simple matter of talking with the International office to assign their requirements. In terms of credit for majors, that was also very simple. I simply spoke to the head of the department (in my case, religion) and described the course that I took that I thought would fit into the major. In most cases, just talk with your department head and I’m fairly sure something can be worked out fairly easily.
Advice: Be open! I almost want to say that you should be a different person, in the sense that you should explore everything available to you. I tend to stick to myself mostly, but I made an effort to make friends with the Japanese students around me and share experiences with them, and I think that that was more important than trying to knock down the language barrier between us. Communication is what you should be striving for, not directly translating and understanding. You’ll be surprised at what kind of conversations you can have by communicating rather than trying to think of complicated Japanese.