Hello all! I am Yvette and I am currently majoring in Global Liberal Arts at Ritsumeikan University located at Osaka Ibaraki campus. I enrolled in September 2021 and I am currently in my second year. I am currently in Australia doing my one year at ANU. My major is a double degree program with Australian National University (ANU), Asia Pacific Affairs. In this program, students get to study at ANU for 1 academic year to experience ANU life. My degree is an English-based degree. I am given a tuition reduction of 20% and it will increase if my grades are better. There are 20%, 50% and 100% tuition reductions for international students at Ritsumeikan University.
I stayed in a dorm that was on campus and really convenient for me. The supermarket was a five-minute walk away, Aeon mall was 10 minutes away and the nearest station was also 10 minutes away. There were many konbinis (コンビニ) that were nearby, that really helped with my midnight snack cravings. I went to Japan in March 2022 when the borders opened up to international students. Even though classes were online for the first semester, having my friends around me to do assignments together made everything so much easier and fun, compared to doing it alone in Singapore.
I was not able to join any clubs or circles, but I was part of the Student Council for Global Liberal Arts and also a Resident Manager for the dormitory where I stay at. During my time in the Student Council, we planned first-year orientation for both March and September enrollment in 2022, and participated in school events like festivals and open houses. As Resident Manager, I helped many international students who moved into the dorm to settle down: For example, helping with the city hall, making bank accounts and finding of sim cards. I was the first international student that arrived in my dormitory, which made me want to help future international students.
During my free time, my friends and I hang around Umeda (梅田) or Namba (難波) area, where we shop, search for good food and just go out drinking. (Drinking in Japan is so much better than in Singapore, with cheap all-you-can-drink offers!) Besides hanging out with my friends, I like Japanese music and also try to attend concerts and events that are available in Japan; I also made some friends while going for these concerts. My friends and I also did some fun seasonal events like hanami (花見), natsumatsuri (夏祭り), beach outings, Christmas and hatsumode (初詣). Even though events like going to the beach, and Christmas can be celebrated in Singapore as well, the culture in Japan is so much different. I made the best memories during these seasonal events!
I decided to study in Japan, as I had always enjoyed Japanese subcultures and had been to Japan for travel many times. I have always wanted to work in Japan, which lead to me wanting to study in Japan for my degree. This lead to me learning Japanese in a language school when I was in Secondary 2, and getting my JLPT N2 certificate in Secondary 5. I also interned in a Japanese company during my time in polytechnic. Unfortunately, Japanese universities do not look at internships and other portfolios like Singaporean universities. They are also a few universities that do not recognise polytechnic diplomas for application.
If you are thinking about studying in Japan but do not have any Japanese language knowledge, don't worry! I have many friends who are not able to speak and understand Japanese but are still able to communicate and live in Japan. There are many English-medium degrees around Japan. Don't worry about being alone – I have had so much fun celebrating my birthdays here, away from my family. If you have always wanted to study in Japan, do take the opportunity to try and study here!