College of Arts and Sciences/
University of Washington（USA）/
2012～2013/The University of Washington
The University of Washington is the State university of Washington State and is located on the West Coast. The climate in Seattle is similar to Tokyo, and
The University of Washington
The University of Washington is the State university of Washington State and is located on the West Coast. The climate in Seattle is similar to Tokyo, and historically many Asians have lived there, so there are many Asian supermarkets, making it an easy place to live for Japanese foreign students. In addition to there being many foreign students, the local people are also very multicultural, so you get the feeling of a multicultural society in America. The university has extremely good facilities in addition to the classrooms such as halls of residence, a 24-hour library, a gym and lounge spaces, and you can effectively enjoy studying and communicating with friends.
The University of Washington works on a quarter system, so there are 3 quarters in a one-year overseas study trip. You take 3 main classes per semester, in which each class has 4 to 5 hours of class time per week. You also have an average of about 1 to 2 reading assignments of about 40 pages, so you can study one topic in more detail than at the University of Tokyo. Additionally, due to the quarter system, each semester is short, so there are always mid-term tests/reports or end-of-semester tests/reports, which makes studying a lot tougher than at Tokyo. But the lecturers and TAs provide very good office hour support and you receive feedback or ask questions when writing a report, so you can make sure you have a really solid understanding of your subject. There are no limits to the classes you can take in the exchange program, so you can choose the subject from a wide range of classes. I took development and American politics, poverty studies and classes related to Japanese society, which enabled me to study various topics from a different viewpoint from that in University of Tokyo. In particular, the viewpoint on the topic of gender within development studies was something I couldn’t study much about in Tokyo, so I gained new perspectives through the classes and discussions.
The everyday life
At the University of Washington, almost all foreign students can stay in the hall of residence if they wish to. I chose a double room that I shared with a local freshman student. In addition to my room-mate, there were class-mates that I shared the living spaces such as kitchen, the common room and bathroom with. In my hall there were 6 Americans, 1 Chinese, 1 Japanese (myself). The hall was safe because it was built inside the campus, and it was very convenient to be able to study late at night in the library. And I was able to immerse myself in American university life by living in the hall. This is something you cannot experience at a language school, but only as an exchange student. I was often busy studying on weekdays, but on Friday nights I spent time with my friends or went out to the city with them, and occasionally we had parties. And, when I had time, I took part in volunteering. At first I was very worried whether I would be able to make friends, but the local students are very welcoming to the foreign students at the University of Washington. You can also make friends with exchange students from all over the world, so I think it is an easy environment for making friends.
At the end of my studying abroad, I went camping with some of the American friends that I made in class.