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Exchange Students


The Fall Semester and My Coming to Japan

October - December 2020

Justus finally came to Japan at the end of November 2020 after enduring hard 2 months when taking TUFS's classes online in the very early morning in Rwanda. However, as soon as he was released from the stress of time difference, internet connection problems and so on, he faced a new obstacle: coldness of winter in Japan... But, he could stay worry-free since he could get supports from various people after his arrival. The photos that he left his home university in Rwanda, Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), surrounded by many of his colleagues seeing him off shows how much he is loved there.

The following is his essay.

While still in Rwanda, at my home university (Protestant Institutes of Arts and Social Sciences), I was glad the fall semester was yet to commence and I was too eager to start my studies at TUFS. I managed to register for 8 international courses related to PCS (peace and conflict studies) and Japan at large. Honestly speaking, I was too excited and at the same time nervous about attending online classes late at night since Rwanda is behind Japan by 7 hours.


Getting ready for exams and classes at my home university as I wait for TUFS online classes at 3 am Rwanda time.

Guess what? The first month of the fall semester was very challenging due to several reasons (the first experience of online classes, poor internet, unreliable power, needed devices for classes, Data connection, time difference, classes and exams at my home university, etc). These and other challenges made me fear for my grades both at my home university and at TUFS, I recall I could miss some classes due to poor internet or power cut off or technical problems with my devices. With the support of my Profesor Kazuyuki Sasaki sensei, the ISEP-PIASS coordinator, I could get enough data connection and device for classes. I was optimistic I would come to Japan and concentrate on my studies without such challenges, especially the time difference.

I was too excited when I heard of my flight schedule to Japan, in Japan and Rwanda the covid-19 preventive measures had been lifted and we were able to arrange for our long-awaited flight to Japan. On 23th/11/2020, we left Rwanda's Kigali International Airport and arrived at Hamad International Airport` in Doha where we slept for one night and left in the following night up to Narita International Airport on the 25th of November 2020.


My home university students seeing us off before Prof. Kazuyuki sensei drove us to the bus park. Rwanda.

On arrival at TUFS, I had to go through self-quarantine for two weeks. Thanks to the International Students Support Association (ISSA) and Africa Studies Center (ASC) for supporting my stay in quarantine. ISSA provided me with several essentials that I could use during my quarantine on the addition of food delivery twice a week. Perhaps this is why I got fat within two weeks of quarantine.


Visiting the ASC office after quarantine. December 10, 2020.

As soon as I finished my quarantine, I had to visit the African Studies Center Office. During the visit, Professor Shinichi Takeuchi sensei delivered to us winter jackets from Pastor Kato sensei. In the same vein, I met with my crowdfunding member who catered for my flight tickets to and from Japan. Honestly speaking, I wanted to meet them in person but due to the pandemic restrictions, we had to meet at the zoom meeting. I'm still hoping against hopes that before I go back to Africa, I will have to get chance to meet some of them in person.

While at TUFS, I was eager and happy to resume the fall semester. The fear of deteriorating performance due to challenges (time differences, power cut off, or poor connection, etc) had started vanishing from my mind. After settling down and getting used to the new time differences and the winter coldness, I could concentrate on my studies as I had wished before. Even though it's overt that the pandemic restrictions are failing me to get involved in long-distance tours for personal safety, I've managed to participate in several online and face-to-face activities. During my free time, I have been attending different seminars, workshops, visiting museums, shrines, and churches, temples, families, parks, writing articles and tasting different Japanese dishes, etc. I'll briefly elaborate on these activities in the following assays.