We are joined by Jean, an Estonian student who came to NUCB Undergraduate School on Exchange for one year from fall 2020.
Estonian Business School (EBS) is part of a global network of over 100 partner schools offering the opportunity to gain credits on an overseas exchange program.
Why did you choose to pursue your studies in Japan?
From the beginning since I heard about the exchange possibility at EBS my goal was to go and study abroad in Japan as I wanted to do it in high school but was unable to. With the EBS mobility window I really had no excuse to not fulfill that one dream I used to have. I also wanted to study at a revered university abroad and luckily the school in Japan was also a really good institution.
Did you experience culture shock?
I absolutely did like anyone would expect to experience when coming from a small country in Europe with 5,5 million people and landing in the world’s largest metropolitan area with almost three times the population just in Tokyo. Landing in Tokyo and later traveling to Nagoya via the shinkansen (bullet train) was like being in a whole new world.
We all knew beforehand how English is not as widely spoken in Japan and not on the same level by most when compared to what you have learned to expect in Europe. Luckily Japanese customer service is just as good as rumored or maybe even better. Even with the language barrier they will find a way to help you.
How do you feel this experience has affected you and the way you see the world?
My time in Japan helped me to really get out of my comfort zone which used to be a massive problem for me and helped me to become even more independent. It gave me friends from places around the world. I got to know people from countries I previously had never even talked to, like my best friend in Japan who was from Qatar.
What was your most memorable moment during your exchange?
I had many memorable moments in Japan like traveling with the shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya and just watching the scenery, finding this weird and small coffee shop in Nagoya where I had the best cup of coffee of my life or seeing all the temples, parks and other wonders of Japan for the first time.
But the most memorable moment has to be the time we visited this place called Nabana no Sato during the winter. It was a sort of a park where every place was full of lights and multiple different choreographed light shows and all sorts of plants and flowers. When we walked around the park and reached this area with the main light show it was the most spectacular and beautiful sights I have ever witnessed. It is something I can’t even do justice to by trying to describe it and all I can say is that even if you don’t have the chance to go and see it you should watch it from Youtube.
Would you recommend going for an exchange to Japan?
I would definitely recommend it.
If I was able to have the most memorable year of my life during covid-19 while almost every activity at the school was cancelled I can only imagine how much more people are able to experience during their exchange in Japan after we finally get past this pandemic. The school was absolutely beautiful, everyone I met was extremely nice to me and the whole country was like a big amusement park. The amount of interesting and weird things you see even when you just walk around the city is so large I can’t even scratch the surface in this article. It was a nice change of pace from the studying you are most likely used to and it didn’t hurt that we did not have a single exam during the year I studied in NUCB and instead we just had final reports we had to write at the end of the course. If you want to experience a completely different kind of studying and exchange experience filled with fun, weird and definitely memorable moments all I can say is Japan is a place to consider.