Hyogo University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific


  • Name:H. T. [ 日本 ]

  • Acceptance period:Oct. 17, 2022 ~ Jul. 24, 2023
  • Acceptance university:キール大学
  • University enrolled:神戸大学

Opportunity of the studying abroad, purpose

 The objectives of this study abroad are below: to experience foreign cultures and to get to be able to speak English. First, I would like to broaden my horizons by experiencing cultures different from Japan's. My grandparents loved to travel abroad, and they used to travel together. They used to show me pictures of the Rio Carnival in Brazil, and talked to me about safaris of wild carnivorous animals and the magnificent Victoria Falls in Africa. All of them were on a different scale from Japan, and were unique and something I could not experience if I live only in Japan. Thanks to grandparents, I have naturally been interested in foreign geography and cultures for a long time, and have always wanted to experience cultures completely different from Japan. Second, I would like to get the useful skill in my future career. I would be interested in the airline industry when I was in junior high school, and I had a vague idea that I would develop English and work in the future. Later, in high school and university, I got interested in working in the shipping industry or in the trading industry. My desire, “to communicate and work in English with people from various countries and cultures" has never changed and will not change significantly in the future. I believe that I need language skills which enable me to communicate with people overseas.
 Then, I heard about the university's exchange program. It is very attractive to have the opportunity to spend a year in a foreign country while I’m still a student. So, I decided to study abroad. I believe in being able to achieve both of the objectives through this study abroad program.
 In addition, among many exchange partner universities, I chose Kiel University in Germany as my study abroad place for the following two reasons. First, Kiel is located at a little far away from the major German cities. There is very rich natural area facing the Baltic Sea. In addition to the mild and pleasant European climate, it offers the opportunity to live in an idyllic area away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Second, Kiel University offers more group work classes than lectures. I believe that discussion and group work classes are more effective than lecture-based classes because they allow me to be more active in my learning.
 In such an environment totally different from Japan, I’m going to achieve the two objectives above, and enrich both my schoolwork and my personal life.
 Finally, I would like to thank everyone, including my grandparents who gave me the opportunity to study abroad, my family and friends who supported me, my teachers and school staff, and the HUMAP International Student Exchange Promotion Program staff. I would like to live a fulfilling and well-balanced study abroad experience in terms of both study and life.

Experience while studying abroad

I’ll talk about what I’ve experienced and felt so far from both study and life perspectives. Please understand I tend to talk from objective points of view such as national policy instead of subjective ones.

I talk about study-related perspectives.
- Students join in lectures quite actively.
German and international students join in class more actively than Japanese. For example, if the lecturer asks a question to students, Japanese students take time to answer. This is probably because Japanese tend to wait and see how others do, but usually, the lecturer asks first and waits for a little and picks someone, then the student answers the question. This is a usual sequence of questions in a lecture. However, students around me answer and express their opinions smoothly like they are chatting. Lecturers don’t need to pick someone because students raise their hands assertively. Students concentrate to listen to a lecturer, have their own opinions, and are good at putting them into words. This is partly because some foreign countries’ education tries to make students learn to express their opinions, which is totally different from Japanese education. Even though it is, students are really willing to study. I am very impressed by it.

- Almost all students speak English very well.
Both German students and international students from other countries speak English fluently. They speak English as fast as native speakers. On the other hand, they consider English as just a “tool” to communicate with others. They put emphasis on what they do with English. Moreover, some students study abroad for whole their bachelor, others have studied abroad in other places. They think studying abroad are not so much difficult as Japanese students think. It’s quite normal.

I’m going to talk about life-related perspectives.
- They separate studying and hanging out clearly.
They take lectures and deal with work hard on weekdays, and study by themselves in the library and their rooms after school. However, they have a good time individually on weekends and holidays. For example, I went to Hamburg to enjoy the countdown to the New Year with my international students. Although they usually study hard, they got drunk completely on the train from Hamburg to Kiel. They screamed and played soccer on the street, and got cautions by a police officer, etc. Putting aside whether it is right or wrong, many students balance and work hard for both studying and hanging out.

Those above are what I felt mainly in Germany so far. Learning the differences between Japan and other countries including Germany made me broaden my perspective that I never knew. It’s so interesting. I’m going to get interested in various things and communicate with other students until I finish my study abroad. I hope it will get my life fulfilling.

Results of study abroad, future goals

I will talk about what I gained from studying abroad first. Before my stay I set two goals in my report: to experience a foreign culture and to improve my English.

First, I could have broadened my horizon. I could feel many differences between Japanese and foreign cultures while living and interacting with people. For example, one of my friends invited me to hang out and he canceled just before the date because he felt tired. What impressed me was that they also have a tolerance for each other when something bad happens. It was good that they have a mutual understanding of things. I broadened my horizon by learning about various values from around the world like this.

Second, My English has improved to a certain extent, and I realized how important speaking actively is. I actively joined in the events and tried to communicate with friends. I’m satisfied with my English has improved by talking with many people. What I realized is the most important is not to be afraid of making mistakes. In the early days of my stay, I was not confident in my English and hesitated to talk to others. But I was surprised to see my friend whose English wasn’t as good as mine actively talking to others. After this, I also tried to speak actively, and I could improve my English well in the end.

In addition to these two goals, I gained two other results.

First, I could reconsider my values. After a year of living outside my comfort zone, I could make clear ideas of what I enjoy and want to do. In my case, I realized I want to "let foreign people know about Japan and Japanese things (such as food and products)" and "make friends and communicate with foreign people with English.” In this way, I could take time to think carefully about myself and reconsider my values.

Second, my communication skills such as expressing my opinions clearly and simply have improved. English is low-context, and you cannot be understood unless you say something aloud. Therefore, I naturally learned to directly express my opinions. At first, I hesitated to make direct statements, but I got less hesitant by adding reasons to them. Also, all students in Germany were not native English speakers. Therefore, we could communicate easily when we use simple phrases. Therefore, I naturally learned to say things simply.

Next, I will talk about my future goals.

First, I want to work for a company that matches the interests that I felt during my stay. Especially, I want to engage in something related to "letting foreigners know about Japan and Japanese things.”

Second, I want to support foreign people in Japan and make friends with them. I want to help exchange students coming to my university. I want to help them and want them to enjoy their stay in Japan. I also want to make friends with foreigners in Japan and have good long-term friends.