Wendy sent us an essay about her stay in Japan. She was an exchange student from University or Pretoria and studied at TUFS during Spring Semester 2019. While she was busy with classes includeing Japanese class, she enjoyed her free time with students from various countries and cheerleading club activities.
We'd like to express our deepest gratitude for Yazaki Corps who supported Wendy's airfare and parts of living expenses.
My stay in Japan has been one of the most enriching experience of my life. I fell in love with the culture and amazing food they have to offer. When first arriving in Japan, I didn't know what to expect and my Japanese wasn't very good. I adapted quickly to the culture and environment in Japan and got to experience new outlooks, customs and activities. I got to experience Japan, understand the people, its traditions, and its culture, I've learnt so much in just three and a half months of living here. TUFS has helped me in my studies as well as encourage me for further studies.
I chose courses in Greek and Roman Mythology, English Literature, Religion and Culture in Japan and Japanese level 100. In Greek and Roman Mythology, I learnt about Greek stories and I was tested on them every Friday. In English Literature we read the novel, Bliteldale Romance and we discussed topics about the novel in each class. In Religion and Culture in Japan, I learnt about Buddhism and how it has affected the country of Japan and the lives in Japan. I was happy in my choice of subjects and learnt a lot through my semester. The lecturers were enthusiastic about their subject and I felt that the classes were very interesting. Japanese level 100 was my hardest class but it was very fun to learn a new language and the teachers taught me in a way that I could understand. I had eight hours of class per week which helped me have time to go sightseeing.
I also made a lot of international friends and we have become very close. To name some countries they are from are Brazil, Singapore, Philippines, Hawaii and America. We spent most of our time traveling around Japan and I got to learn different cultures from each one of them. I got to hear my Philippine friend, Victoria, sing a song from her country in her language during some Karaoke as well as my Hawaiian, Audrey, who made food for us from her home country. Together we were able to travel to Chiba and have fun at Disney Sea and Disney World. We also did a lot of traveling around Tokyo. We went to the Ghibli Museum and a lot of other museums in Ueno. We also traveled around Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya many times. We did a lot of shopping was able to use our Japanese language skills as much as we could. I was also able to experience traditional festivals such as the Fuchu City Festival which is held every year. My family from South Africa also came to visit me during my stay in Japan. They spent a week in Tokyo and I was about to eat out with them when I had the free time. I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in Japan and spent it bowling with some friends and family.
During this semester, I wanted to join a club to make a lot of Japanese friends. I join RAMS cheerleading club because it looked like fun. I've practiced with them for three months and I made a lot of amazing friends in the team. The RAMS cheerleading club were friendly from the beginning and I have a lot of fun practicing with them. We practice about five to six times a week and I learn so much from them. I was also able to compete in the Kanto Championship with RAMS. It was a lot of hard work and determination but I gave my best and we worked hard together as a team. On some weekends we go to other universities to practice and I met a lot of cheerleading friends. It was a very hard team to join since they taught in Japanese but I adapted and it became easier as time went on, I was also able to learn a lot of the Japanese culture through this club. Also, there were many times when they would translate for us. I'm glad I joined their club; I have made a lot of memories with them and I am going to miss them a lot.
The most favorite thing about staying in Japan is the food. I love the different types of food Japan has to offer and I make sure to try something new every time I eat out. There are so many restaurants around Tokyo that we eat out at a new place every time. My favorite food to eat is Sushi and Ramen noodles. Almost every day we would try a different Ice cream flavor and my favorite dessert here is milk pudding.
I'm grateful to TUFS for giving me such a wonderful time studying abroad. I don't have any regrets and I had so much fun living here. I was able to make a lot of new friends and learn a lot of different cultures. I have a better understanding and appreciation for the nations people and their history.
I am also thankful to Yazaki Corp. for their financial support as well as Prof. Takeuchi and Mr. Myoi from African Studies Center - TUFS, and Ms. Kawakita of Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Pretoria who helped in making it possible for me to be able to study in Japan. They have given me a once in a lifetime opportunity. I will forever cherish the memories and friends I have made in Japan.