Greeting from Oita (Tampere), Japan (Finland)

My student exchange in Oita University was an interesting one. Due the current epidemic, the borders to Japan were closed the entire time so I had to do exchange remotely. In fact, there were some hope to visit Japan at the end of the exchange, but the situation didn’t change so we stayed in our home countries instead.

Despite the fact, that I couldn’t visit the country itself, the classes were interesting ones and teachers were talented. The classes focused mainly on Japanese language or learning about Japanese history, culture or society. Some of the courses were quite exhausting, as we progressed fast and there were lot of homework. And it wasn’t helping that I worked full-time during the whole exchange (remotely too). So, I had to make some arrangements to work things out.

My student exchange setup

Compared to Finnish studies, things are a bit different in Japan. In Finnish classes some people will always be late, we tend to multitask something else at the same time (especially during Zoom sessions, I am looking at you :D) and we start the lecture after little ‘warming up’ after 5 minutes or so. In Oita University studies, on the contrary, almost nobody was late, and students had to focus on lectures because the pace was fast (and partly because we were required to have webcam on the whole time). Not to mention, teachers usually went straight to the topic, thus lectures started immediately.

When it comes to spare time activities, it’s unfortunate that we had none, even remotely. The only interactions we had with exchange or Japanese students were during the lectures. Not that I had time for spare time activities, but it would’ve been nice to get to know some people, nevertheless.

Overall, the exchange was nice despite the letdown of never visiting Japan. I learned a lot from the courses and improved my Japanese skills. Therefore, I can recommend their exchange student program. But maybe one day, after this epidemic is over, I will visit Oita for real and jump into the onsen I have so dreamt about:)

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