Hi everyone! My name is Abbi McClean and I am currently studying Japanese language and culture at one of USC’s partner institutions – Nagoya University of Foreign Studies or NUFS (名古屋外語大学).
NUFS is in the city of Nisshin which is kind of on the outskirts of the main Nagoya hub and I love it this way! Nagoya is not as famous as Tokyo and Kyoto, but it is still quite a popular place. It is also very quiet which is nice as well. When I first arrived at the airport, a few of us were waiting at the airport to meet the domestic students from NUFS that were picking us up. We all got on a shuttle bus to the university and then met our RAs (Residence Attendants) for our dormitories. There are 3 main dormitories at NUFS – Global Village, NUFS & NUAS Residence and I-House (International house). I’m staying at the NUFS&NUAS Residence dormitory and so far, it has been awesome! My apartment includes a kitchenette, bathroom, toilet and bedroom and I don’t have to share it with anyone else 😊 there are people for all over the world in the dormitory but there are only 3 Australians in the dorm (including myself).
We went through an orientation at the university the first week that we were here and all the staff members at NUFS were very kind and helpful. During my second week here, I got to meet my buddy who is a second-year domestic student NUFS and her name is Saki （さき）. Saki and I went to do some Hanami or Cherry Blossom watching at a place nearby to the university and the cherry blossoms were so beautiful. There were hundreds of them all along this river that we walked down. I was very grateful that I got to witness the cherry blossoms in all their magnificent glory!
I’ve had the chance to visit many places nearby, but I think that my most favourite place that I have visited here is a place called Tsumago (妻籠宿 Tsumago-juku) where NUFS organised for all the new exchange students to do 9km hike to Magome. Although the hike was very long, and it was 8’C, it was definitely worth it! Tsumago is located in mountains in the Nagano prefecture and it took about 1 ½ hours to reach it by bus from NUFS. We hiked through the forest in 6 small groups and my group originally had 8 people in it at the beginning but by the time we reached the end, there was only 4 of us left as the others had become too tired or sore to continue the hike. The view at Magome was simply spectacular and breath-taking. The mountains nearby were still covered in snow and the air was so fresh from being so cold.
At NUFS, they don’t allow you to have a part time job while you’re doing an exchange here but hey employ the international students to tutor the domestic students in the ‘Language Lounge’ on campus. It has been very interesting talking to lots of Japanese students and helping them with their English skills. I am very proud to be studying here in Japan and at NUFS.
If I were to give any tips for students thinking about studying overseas in the future, I would say; step out of your comfort zone. You might be there for a long time or you might be there for a short time, but once you step out of your comfort zone, you will be able to experience so many wondrous things! Don’t be afraid to explore places that are off the beaten track. I have found so many wonderful places just by simply stumbling upon and not by looking for them. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from studying overseas.
I have both Coeliac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I was quite scared about coming over to Japan because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find things that I could eat but I decided to come so that I could experience this amazing opportunity, and so far I have been able to find quite a few foods that I can eat in supermarkets and restaurants. I also really miss my family but I know that they are proud of me and what I’m doing here which makes it easier to not be near them. Also, if there is one thing that I had trouble with over here, it would be trying to organise a sim card/WIFI dongle for my stay, so my advice is to always plan ahead! But don’t forget to have fun!