留学体験記 – Irena Štefančić(イレーナ シテファンチッチ)さん

交換留学プログラム(Student Exchange Program)
ザグレブ大学(クロアチア)/ 2018年10月~2019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。
I have been interested in the Japanese language and culture for a long time. After studying Japanese for a while, including studying at the course of Japanese studies at University of Zagreb for 3 years, I wanted to study abroad in Japan to improve my knowledge of the language and to experience life there first hand.

●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。
Last year (2018) Tokushima University and University of Zagreb signed a contract so I applied for the exchange because it seemed interesting  and there was a decent scholarship included.

●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。
My major at home university is Mathematics and Computers Science Education. Besides that, I’m  enrolled in the open course in Japanese studies, where I have been studying Japanese language, history, culture and literature.

●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。
I did all of the paperwork and procedures that needed to be done for the exchange. Also, I prepared things to pack. Other than that, I didn’t do anything in particular.

●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。
This is my first time in Japan and it was overall an amazing experience. I really liked Tokushima because of the people. People in Tokushima are very kind, helpful and I always felt welcomed there. Also, because the city is not so big. I felt that the lifestyle is more relaxed and easygoing. The only negative side was that majority of the exchange I lived in a dormitory in Kitajima that is pretty far away from campus and the city center itself so I had to cycle every day for around 30 to 40 minutes in one direction, Since Tokushima doesn’t have a good public transport system, the bicycle was basically the only option and because of the daily commute, I felt that I was missing out on some things. Especially because most of my friends lived in the city center.
I was surprised with a lot of little things that were different from my home. But, something that surprised me the most was that there are a few associations that are helping with the integration of international community. These associations do things like organizing events that promote cultural exchange and trips that are very accessible to foreigners, collecting used utensils etc. and giving it freely to foreign students, offering free classes of Japanese etc. There are three associations of that kind that I know of in Tokushima city and its surroundings (KIFA, TIA and TOPIA). I was surprised that there is this level of support of international community present in Japanese city that isn’t that big. I thought the work they so is amazing, especially because the helped me a lot as a student. Also, I met some wonderful people through these associations.

●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 Culture Lounge a lot. It was a place to go between the classes to study, relax, hang out with friends and other students or play board games. I met some dear fellow students there.

●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。
Overall the learning experience was good. Professors were particularly kind, helpful and easy to approach. The only thing that could be improved in my opinion is the variety of Japanese language classes for the intermediate level. Since I was around the level of N3 when I came to Tokushima, there weren’t many classes suitable for me to choose from. Most of the class were for the beginners or for the already advanced.

●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。
I felt that subjects at Tokushima University are easier than at my home university. In particular, at my home university, most of the subjects have a final exam  for which you have to study and it is a big part of the final grade. Whereas at Tokushima University, a lot of subjects don’t even have a final exam or they just have a short essay. The weight is more on the attendance, homework and activity throughout the whole semester.

●What did you get an impact out of the most in your life of Japan or Tokushima? / 日本(徳島)での生活で一番印象深いものは何ですか。
Meeting people that became dear friends gave me the strongest impact. I enjoyed talking and spending time with them and it was the best part of the exchange.

●What is your goal in the future? / 将来の目標は何ですか。
I don’t have a specific goal yet, but I became interested in international communication a lot and I would love to do something related to that. Also, I would like to stay connected with Japan and Japanese language.

●Could you leave advice to students who want to study abroad in the future? / 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。
If you are thinking about studying in Tokushima, I would advise you to go for it. It is a unique experience that will change you in a good way and it is a kind of experience that  you will treasure for the rest of your life.
Regarding the dormitory situation, if you get a dormitory in Kitajima, which is far from the campus, I would suggest you to think about moving. The majority of the exchange I lived in the Kitajima dormitory, and due to some circumstances, for the last month and a half I lived in Nichia Kaikan dormitory, which is close to the campus. The difference between the two is huge in my opinion. Living in the center was way better, because it was easier to plan a day, I didn’t depend so much on the weather conditions and it was easier to meet with friends, especially when it was spontaneous. Also, if you like a good party and going out in the evenings, it doesn’t go well with living far away.
Lastly, I would suggest you to get out of your comfort zone as much as possible, while you are on exchange. The year goes fast and you don’t get second chances so take every opportunity to meet new people, visit a new place or learn something new. Also, I think it is good to set some of your priorities before coming here, like do you wish to travel a lot while being in Japan or do you wish to study hard and take a lot of classes or do you wish to have a part-time job etc. Of course, you can do a bit of everything, but a lot of times you have to choose so it is better to know what you want.