留学体験記 – Edvin Melander(エドヴィン メランダー)さん

交換留学プログラム(Student Exchange Program)
ルンド大学:人文神学部(スウェーデン)/ 2014年10月~2015年9月

●Why did you want to study abroad in Japan? / なぜ日本に留学しようと思ったのですか。
Well, I’ve been interested in Japan due to being influenced from my early childhood, by, as you might have guessed, anime, manga and so on. I enrolled at the Lund university East Asian studies program, majoring in Japanese. After having studied for one year the chance to partake in a two month long summer course revealed itself. At first I had no real interest in studying for whole year in Japan, but this summer course changed my mind totally. I continued my studies in Sweden for another year in order to study in Tokushima for a full year.
私の子供時代からの影響(推測つくと思いますが、アニメやマンガなど)で日本に興味をもっていました。ルンド大学の「East Asian studies」プログラムに入学して専攻は日本語です。1年間勉強した後、2ヶ月のサマーコースに参加する機会が出てきました。最初、日本に1年間留学することには本当に興味がなかったのですが、このサマーコースは私の考えを完全に変えて、徳島に1年間留学するためにスウェーデンでもう1年間勉強を続けました。

●Why did you choose Tokushima University for your studying abroad? / 徳島大学を選んだ理由は何ですか。
No big reason really, I did pick it as my first choice because I heard good things about it from a friend. The prospect of Tokushima not being like the other choices, smaller city, more nature and so on, made me pick Tokushima as my first choice. I had a feeling it would feel a bit closer to my hometown back in Sweden, neither too rowdy, nor too small.

●What subject have you been studying in your home university? / 自国では何を勉強していましたか。
Only Japanese, for one and a half year before coming to Tokushima.

●How did you prepare for studying in Japan? / 日本留学に向けてどのような準備をしましたか。
Well, figuring it’d be quite unlike what I was used to back in Sweden, I decided to study hard for half a year. I took up and studied a lot of Kanji for about half a year prior to leaving Sweden. I also took this time to train my otherwise quite frail health, by eating sounder, as well as going to gym and working on my posture three times a week. When I finally went to Japan I can honestly say that I was at my healthiest point ever in my life.

●How was your experience in Tokushima? For example, was there anything that surprised you? / 徳島に来てどうでしたか。例えば、驚いたことはありますか。
A lot of things surprised me at first, for example a lot of things that I had read about Japanese society, differences and so on, quickly became very evident when I finally came here. What also surprised me was how hard it was to change my eating habits, and I still struggle with this after one year. It was really hard to find cheap ways to continue making the same food that I had been living on back in Sweden. Also the convenient stores are really a bit too convenient. Cheap tasty food which doesn’t feel healthy at all quickly became my staple here. Beware.

●Have you used the Culture Lounge while you are in Tokushima University? How did you like using Culture Lounge? / 徳島大学ではカルチャー・ラウンジは利用しましたか。また、利用してどうでしたか。
I used to go there quite a lot during the first half a year, after that I went maybe once or twice a week. I do know that a lot of my friends go there all the time in order to meet up with people. The atmosphere of the Culture Lounge is really friendly, and there are always people willing to talk, play games or study together at all times. A lot of the friends I made were due to meeting them here. If you enroll at TU you will most definitely go here at times.

●How was your learning experience with courses at Tokushima University? / 徳島大学での勉強(受講)はどうでしたか。
Well, some of both worlds. Some of the courses felt a bit too hard for me, probably due to my Japanese level being insufficient for some of them. While other courses felt just right. I felt some teachers were better than others, but overall I am happy with everyone. Then there were the study tours. TU really went to a lot of trouble in order to organize study tours, culture trips and so on for us, which I greatly appreciated. Especially during the first semester, they took us to the Hiwasa-festival, brought us to different historical places such as the “Kazura-bashi”, as well as a two day trip to Kyoto in order to see all the big traditional temples. Great fun. I also met and became good friends with a lot of people during these trips.

●Are there any big differences with student life in Tokushima and the country where your university is? / 学生生活について、日本と自国とでは大きな違いがありますか。
Well, back in Sweden I used to live together with my family in another town away from my university. So outside of the obvious differences such as having to take more care of myself, not too many actual differences. Of course there were a lot of things we had to do because we were international students. Even then, being an international student allowed us to partake in events and privileges that the natives couldn’t. Such as study tours, events and special treatment regarding any issues we might’ve had. The staff working at the international center were extremely helpful at all times regarding any trouble you might’ve had. I also found it much easier to find and meet people due to all the things TU does for you. Something I had more trouble with back in Sweden

●What is your goal in the future? / 将来の目標は何ですか。
Truth be told, I am not sure about my future. For the time being I will return to Sweden, feeling far more prepared to write my Japanese thesis than I did before. After that I’ll have to see what I do. Either continuing studies at my home university, or perhaps try returning to Japan, Tokushima or whatnot in order to find a job/continue my studies. If there’s one thing I can say for sure though, it’s that this year hasn’t scared me away from Japan by any means whatsoever. Rather I now know what to expect in the future if it ever comes to it, which in a sense made this trip very much worth it. If you’re studying Japanese and can see yourself having something to do with Japan in the future, this year will certainly prepare you for that.

●Could you leave advice to students who want to study abroad from Tokushima or thinking of studying in Tokushima from your home school? / 留学を考えている学生に向けてアドバイスをお願いします。
The only thing I can say is that taking one year to study abroad opens you up to so much contemplating about everything, not least cultural and societal differences. You’ll most likely learn to appreciate your own country and might even start seeing it in a totally different light, both for the better and the worse. Finally being able to have something to compare your own country with helps tremendously in gaining new perspectives on a lot of things. It’s quite easy to get absorbed and overwhelmed by the negatives at first, so try to look beyond them and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing year in Japan and Tokushima. It’s been the most educating year of my life by far.
Also, think hard on whether you’d like to study like crazy or feel like you’d just like to take it a bit easier. A lot of the courses are actually quite hard, and a lot of them are at JLPT level 1. I foolishly enough thought that I could take some of them on, and ended up quite stressed out in the beginning. But if you feel confident enough then by all means, I’m sure you’ll find even the more difficult courses good and fun. The teachers aren’t really too strict either, so as long as they see that you are trying they won’t fail you I guess. If you’d rather take it easy there are a lot of more culturally inclined courses that you may choose from. Even if you do end up taking it easy you’ll learn a ton of stuff, especially if you already know Japanese before going. In the end what taught me the most were not the courses, but rather the people and circumstances I encountered during my year, by far.
また、夢中になって勉強したいのか、少し気楽に履修したいのかをしっかり考えてください。多くのコースは実際に結構大変ですし、それらのコースの大半はJLPT Level1ほどです。私は愚かにもそれらのコースの履修が出来ると思いましたが、最初の方でかなりのストレスになりました。でも、もしあなたが十分に自信があるなら、もっと難しいコースでも良いし楽しめると思います。先生方もそんなに厳しくはありません。先生方は頑張って履修しているあなた方の期待を裏切らないと思います。もし気楽に受けたいなら、たくさんの文化的なコースがあるのでそこから選べば良いでしょう。もしあなたが簡単なコースを選んだとしても、(日本に来る前に日本語を知っていれば)そこから多くのものを習得できます。最後に、私が学んだ多くは履修コースからではなく、むしろ留学中に出会った人々と環境からでした。