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 Annet from UNZA

Annet BANDA our former exchange student from University of Zambia, who studied in Japan from Oct. 2022 to July.2023 wrote an essay of her stay in Japan.



My name is Annet Banda, a Zambian studying at the University of Zambia. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Development studies with Sociology. From October 2022 to July 2023, I stayed in Japan and was an exchange student for that period. My experience living in Japan was amazing and I would like to share my experience here.
First of all, after arriving in Japan, I was slightly scared of how I would fit in due to reasons such as language barrier mainly but my experience turned out different. I found very accommodating people that helped me settle in upon my arrival and then I proceeded to begin my registration process with a lot of help from the Student Exchange Division office at TUFS as well as a lot of help from Dr.Chihiro and Ms.Yuko from IAfP Office. They helped me in settling for the right courses and part of my highlight during registration is that I took the Japanese language class. This was a very huge step for me and I was very excited to begin learning Japanese formally for the first time in my life.

(Fig. 1) On my second day in Japan with Themba and Dr. Chihiro who helped us open bank accounts and to do other paper work.

(Fig.2) Me on the left side with a white coat with my Japanese language classmates.

My experience generally with classes was great. I also had an opportunity to learn courses from Fukushima and Tohoku University which widened my cultural exchange opportunity. I would like to highlight here about how interactive my classes were during my study at TUFS, I had an opportunity to interact with people from different countries around the world which helped me to have different views about different things. Outside class, I had an opportunity to experience the Japanese culture on a bigger level. I visited various places including temples, zoos and other sites such as the Tokyo tower and sky tree. I also tried so many different foods such as yakiniku, gyoza, ramen and sushi but to mention a few. I also attended some festivals such as the fireworks festival and the Kurayami Festival where I was supposed to wear a special gown called a ‘Happi’. This festival was very interesting and I had a lot of fun.

(Fig. 3) Me in the center with other exchange students attending the Kurayami festival.

(Fig. 4) Me visiting a temple.

Furthermore, I visited Takao Mountain and I was able to hike to the top with my friends for the first time in my life. This was however a great experience. Finally, Japan is a very interesting country and I am more than grateful to have participated in the exchange programme because I learnt so many things both in class and outside class. I was able to learn basic aspects of the Japanese language, I was able to interact with people from around the world and I was also able to participate in various activities that impacted me and will certainly help me in the years to come. In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for the great opportunity to study in Japan, the IAfP Office and the African Studies Center for the never ending support and help rendered to me from the first day I arrived to the last day I spent in Japan. Finally, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Yazaki Cooperation for the financial support rendered to me at the time of my arrival in Japan as it helped me settle in well, as well as some expenses. I hope to someday visit Japan again but for now I will treasure the memories and everything I learnt and also spread my experience with others in Zambia. THANK YOU!

(Fig.5) on the left me at the top of Mt. Takao

(Fig.6) Me on the left, Dr. Chihiro in the center and Themba on the right at the entrance of TUFs on the day of departure from Japan.

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