Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Inter-University Exchange ProjectInnovative Africa: Educational Networking Programs for Human Resource Development in Africa’s SDGs (IAfP)

[Study in Japan Report] By Amissi from PIASS

Nababuya Christelle AMISSI our former exchange student from Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences, Rwanda, who studied in Japan from September 2022 to July 2023 wrote an essay of her one year stay in Japan. Please check it out!!

Nababuya Christelle AMISSI

Watashi wa Amissi Nababuya Christelle desu, I am Congolese and a student majoring in peace building and Development in the Department of Peace and conflict Studies at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences. The exchange program in general is especially worthwhile in a way when somebody experiences a new culture through educational, social, environmental and cultural exchange, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and those around us. In fact, the collaboration between Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences and Tokyo university of Foreign Studies have made possible the dream of many students to study in Japan. Being in Japan is such an amazing experience that we don’t only gain from the academic perspective but also from the cultural and social perspectives.

A path to amazing future

Life is just meaningless without inspiration, my heart full of gratitude is beyond measure. From a far place to a new home, it has been exceptional to be in Japan. For the first day we met these amazing people who clearly made a step to promising us that a bright future is ensured. This same day, I felt encouraged and really motivated. Thank you, African Studies Centre (ASC) and IAfP for the warm welcoming time.

Impression and challenges

Being in a different culture represents both opportunities and also some challenges as well. My first 2 months were not so enjoyable, due to weather, the language, and also learning on how to adjust in an international community. On the other hand, the train system was a bit challenging to me as a result of getting lost sometimes. After my arrival in Japan, winter season started and overcoming the cold was a bit challenging for me, not only that during summer time, the hotness could be challenging sometimes. I just realized that Japan is either hotter or colder than I thought before. But after all, the stay during fall, winter, and summer time was really amazing.

Academic benefits

Firstly, in other to overcome these challenges, I took Japanese class that was done five times in a week in a hybrid manner (online and in person) in the fall semester, we also had a winter course with Japanese Students and PIASS students hosted by Professor Sinishi Takeuchi and Professor Kazuyuki Sasaki. I also attended an intercultural collaborative learning program with students from Osaka University(online) in the spring semester. Secondly, I also joined LET’S, a club at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies that helps to improve the Language proficiency. We had quite good discussions with Japanese students in the club that want to improve their English skills and also International Students that were eager to improve their Japanese skills. I also learned interesting Japanese calligraphy that was so much helpful to read different words and to connect through the communication way. Attending Japanese class was very important, because at the end of the first level I was able to make a presentation about my home country in Japanese language and also have a smooth conversation with others. Moreover, the film analysis class was an interesting class for me because we created a scene related to peace and the connecting way of so many students in the international community. There were so many interesting courses, and I really learned a lot from our different professors and my colleagues. As a result, on the 3rd month in Japan, I realized that a lot of things got improved thanks to different seniors who willingly cooperated with us to make our stay more enjoyable and as well the different clubs I joined that helped to improve my skills. I attended the online session about the Hiroshima Tour that was so useful to further my understanding about peace.

Social and cultural benefits

I am so grateful to have improved my intercultural communication skills. I also better understand society from a religious perspective by attending some festivals (Kurayami Matsuri, Gaigosai…) that helped to integrate into Japanese society better and easily. In addition, coming to Japan has also helped me to meet some Japanese students who studied in Rwanda. In addition, eating different types of Japanese foods was an amazing experience for me; I ate different types of foods such as ramen, sushi, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, karaage, tonkatsu, ochyazuke, shabu-shabu but my favorite remains okonomiyaki and ramen.

I also visited different places, especially climbing the mount Takao with my Zambian colleagues, which was an amazing experience for me. We also had lunch and dinner sessions with students from different backgrounds including our Japanese colleagues that helped us to bond together. In addition, TUFS International Student Support Association also played a big role by organizing some cultural activities such as Kimono Party, Kamakura visit, etc. which helped not only me but many students to integrate into the Society.

I am a young lady interested in activities related to peace. I joined VOLAS, a volunteer group where I had an opportunity to have a cultural event with Japanese students where I presented about my country and its culture. In so many different ways, I gained the social and cultural skills which are not only beneficial for me but also to the society as well. I was glad to also share my experience with CCAJ (Connecting Children of Africa and Japan) which is a community-based group with members who meet most of the time in order to improve their English skills and also to discuss global issues. I was so impressed by the members’ courage to really learn and improve their skills.

The time spent with these amazing people was so meaningful to see how possible development is when we cooperate and involve young people in the process. Both children in Japan and Africa are actors of promoting a better future with their full participation in the global issues that affect the lives of many. With them I strongly learn that Togetherness is a powerful means to make impactful changes in the society.

Personal achievement

I was given the opportunity to do my internship at Japan Volunteer Center which contributed continuously to my personal growth. I also attended some seminars organized by Sasakawa Peace Foundation (online and in person) and as well the one organized by ASC.


Japan has been an amazing home to me. I so much appreciate the Japanese values such as politeness and kindness, and I am so much thrilled to talk about the amazing experience I had in Japan once being home. I am also grateful to my home University (PIASS) and TUFS Exchange division Office, to JASSO , to Yazaki cooperation, the crowdfunding contributors, to ASC and IAfP for having made my stay more enjoyable and full of wonderful memories. I am grateful to everyone who made me feel at home.

The world is more amazing to have people like you who are ready to shape the lives of many.

ありがとう!Thank you.

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