India/College of Arts and Sciences (PEAK)/Undergraduate Student/Hello! My name's Ujjwala, and I'm a second-year PEAK student from India. I have various hobbies, some of which include: voracious reading, writing, drawing, and getting heavily
Hello! My name's Ujjwala, and I'm a second-year PEAK student from India. I have various hobbies, some of which include: voracious reading, writing, drawing, and getting heavily (read: excessively, unnecessarily) invested in select books/TV shows/movies. I love learning languages (currently learning Japanese and Korean).
What attracted you to Komaba, UTokyo?
I had always wanted to study in Japan, as I have a deep interest in the Japanese language and the culture (yes, anime and manga included!). When I discovered PEAK, I knew this was where I wanted to go for college - it was the perfect opportunity for me to study the subjects I wanted to and experience Japan at a level deeper than that of a tourist. Moreover, I couldn't pass up the chance to study at UTokyo!
Describe your transition to Komaba, UTokyo.
It was difficult at first, because I came into Japan with only a very rudimentary grasp of the language and had no experience living abroad on my own before this. However, I feel that the support from the administration and my friends helped a lot! I was very shy at first, very introverted and hesitant to explore Japan on my own - but I believe that I came out of my shell gradually and adjusted very well to life here. Being able to rely on others in times of need was a huge help! Now, I have a lot more courage to go out there and get things done, which I doubt I would have had had I not chosen to study abroad on my own.
Describe the adjustment to Japanese culture.
One of the biggest obstacles I've faced ever since I came to Japan has been food - I'm a vegetarian, so meat and fish are not an option for me. This blocks me from trying most Japanese cuisine, though I did try sushi and I do love takoyaki! However, though my choices here are limited, with an increased knowledge of the Japanese language and an understanding of how things work here, I've been able to adjust my eating habits suitably. Otherwise, I feel very much at home here, as I feel Japanese and Indian cultures share some tenets that made adjusting to a new culture easier for me.
What’s your favorite thing about Shibuya and Tokyo?
I have to say my favorite thing about Shibuya, and about Tokyo, would be the energy I gain from exploring them! I never get tired of walking around various districts in Tokyo and taking in all the sights. There's always something new and unique to see here every day, and I've been lucky enough to see places and have experiences I'd never dreamed I'd get to see or have in my life.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new international student, what would it be?
I'd have to say, don't be afraid to put yourself out there, especially if it's your first time living on your own. You're in charge of your college experience - be receptive and make the most of your time here; enjoy the sights, the campus life, the food! I'm sure it'll give you an entirely new perspective on things.