College of Arts and Sciences/Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)/2015-2016/ Ever since I spent one year in the US as an exchange students during high school, I've always believed that spending a certain amount of time abroad where everything is different
1 What made you decide to study overseas?
Ever since I spent one year in the US as an exchange students during high school, I've always believed that spending a certain amount of time abroad where everything is different is of great value. I also wanted to learn another language besides English, and be as good as I am at English or even better. I'm particularly interested in Italian art history, so for my next destination I chose Italy.
2 Please tell us about the best experience you had studying abroad.
The best experience was actually just hanging out with really good friends that I made at Rome. It took me a long time to meet them, but we really hit it off and had such a great time together. We told each other about Japan and Italy, and I was also happy to be able to make myself understood among Italian native speakers.
3 Please tell us about the hardest part of your overseas study.
The University that I went to is gigantic and it was very difficult for me to make friends. Sometimes loneliness was the biggest issue. Also, since all the lectures were taught in Italian, I sometimes couldn't keep up. The classes were so big that even if I asked for some help it was hard to get it.
4 What types of classes did you take?
I only took classes that are related to art history. Art history of any period, and there was also an Italian language class for foreign exchange students.
5 What were you involved in outside of class? (Clubs, volunteering, internships etc.)
In Italy there are not many clubs at universities, so I couldn't do much outside of school. In the second semester I started to go to the Japanese Cultural Institution of Rome and I participated events about Japanese culture and I met many Italian friends who study Japanese.
6 How do you want to make use of your experience overseas?
Since I am thinking about writing my thesis on Italian modern art, Italian language ability and Italian art history knowledge will certainly help me with it. Also, from now on, even if I live in Japan, I want to make the best use of the completely different way of thinking that I learned in Italy.
7 If you have any advice for students planning to study abroad, please tell us.
I think the best thing would be to have an objective and a plan for the exchange program, and to modify it as time goes by. Sometimes things go completely different than expected, and it's nearly impossible to stick to the first plan. In that kind of situation we need to be flexible and do the best that we can do. Also, be prepared. The language should not be underestimated. Depending on how much you learn before you go abroad, the depth of the experience can change a lot.
8 If you have anything else you want to say, including any experience that left an impression on you, please do so here.
I think studying abroad is a very precious experience given that you can start from zero, leaving the life you had in Japan behind. After university this kind of experience would be a little harder to do. Every once in a while there are some exchange student posts unfilled with Tokyo University's exchange program. Even if you're not sure how it'll help you with your career or whatever that you're concerned about, if you're interested even a little bit I think you should go!