Jiani Zhou is a fourth-year student studying a Bachelor of Commerce (International). She went to Keio University in Tokyo, Japan from September 2017 – August 2018 as part of the exchange requirement in her degree.
Interviewed and Edited by Megan Chen
Tokyo sounds exciting! What drew you to Japan as an exchange destination?
As an international student from China, I’ve always been drawn towards exploring different cultures. I had been to Japan a few years ago and appreciated its beautiful culture, especially the Japanese manner, such as politeness, kindness, respectfulness, and the attitude of doing things with dignity and excellence.
Naturally, I wanted to explore more of this beautiful country with the exchange opportunity! Keio University’s deep history first caught my attention with its reputation as one of the best educational institutions in Japan, especially in business. Keio is a place where people can find a sense of community and sense of belonging, rather than just an educational institution. I felt very honoured that I had the opportunity to study there.
Wow, that was very insightful. If you had to choose the best part of this university, what would it be?
The best part was the orientation which ran for three whole days and it was really, really, really helpful! They asked new exchange students to arrive three weeks in advance before the university started so that we could rest during this transition period. They were so thorough with everything; from campus tours to getting around on transportation – they even printed every single step in the handout, including how you could get to the city council!
Where was your accommodation for exchange?
I lived in the school dormitory called “Shimoda” because I think living with other exchange students is fun and makes it easier to make new friends. Keio University suggests exchange students live in dormitories because if you rent a room via an agency, you need a Japanese person to be your guarantor. The dorms were cheaper, faster to apply for and had a safer environment too.
Were there any course matching restrictions for your exchange?
Apart from Japanese Language courses, Keio mainly offers courses related to Economics and Japanese culture. Luckily, I am majoring in Economics, so there weren’t many restrictions. And the good news is that all of the courses are taught in English, so there are no language prerequisites.
What are the ways to best prepare for exchange specific to your region?
- If you want to work with the student visa, you need to apply for an extra document and get approved.
- Buying the National Health Insurance after you arrive Japan is mandatory. It will be explained during the orientation, so don’t worry before your arrival.
- Bring enough cash! Card payments were not common.
- Don’t make phone calls on the train.
- In Japan, girls always put a little makeup on to show their respect to others.
If you’d like to see more photos of Jiani’s experience, follow her on Instagram @jia.ni.zhou
Keio University Home Page – https://www.keio.ac.jp/en/
Help with budgeting – https://ic.sfc.keio.ac.jp/uploads/2015/07/7.-Living-expenses-in-Japan.pdf
Degree Programs Offered in English – https://www.keio.ac.jp/en/academics/programs-offered-in-english/
Our previous post was about Shanghai Jiao Tong University – click here to read it.
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