I finally got to Japan about a week ago, and have been busy getting over jet lag, decorating my room, and making new friends. In my dorm there’s about 60 exchange students from all over the world, with 3 Japanese RA’s. There’s students from France, America, England, Australia, The Netherlands, and more. We usually use English to communicate, and Japanese when talking to the RA’s. While we haven’t been here long, we already feel like a family, with our RA’s and senpai (students from last semester) acting almost like older siblings to us. They help us translate and interact with our community, navigate the train system, give us advice on great restaurants in the area, and adapt to everyday life in Japan.
Besides the RA’s, we’ve also met different volunteers from the school who have helped us. At the airport, a group of us exchange students were greeted by volunteers from the school who helped the sleep-deprived Americans and Australians get to our new dorms by riding the bus with us and telling the taxi drivers where to take us etc. Some people had their luggage lost, so they also helped us translate with the airport staff so they knew what to look for and we knew how to get it back. Mine (thankfully) were not lost though.
Some other volunteers took us to Nagoya Castle and exploring downtown yesterday. It was a lot of fun! While most of the castle was destroyed in 1945 during World War II, it’s since been rebuilt, with artifacts from ancient Japan on display. In fact, each floor of the castle has been renovated into an exhibit, my favorites being the 3rd floor, which is a reproduction of Nagoya from the 1600’s, 7th floor, which is an observation room where you can see all of modern Nagoya spread out around you.
After wandering around the castle grounds for a few hours, our guides took us to Nagoya Station downtown, where they explained how the Shinkansen bullet trains work should we ever want to ride them. afterwards, we walked around and went shopping for a few hours before heading back home.
Overall, I’m having a lot of fun exploring Japan and I’m so glad I chose to study abroad in Nagoya, and I’m excited for classes to start at NUFS in two weeks. Some of my favorite things so far have been drinking all of the Calpis, going to the conveyor belt sushi restaurant across the street, and arguing about English words with my friends from England (they’re pixie stix, Katherine!). We’ll get our class schedules soon, and I’m looking forward to finding out what courses I’ll be taking next semester. Everyone here has been super helpful, and I can’t wait to officially start university in Japan.