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Study Exchange

Written by Wan Huraizul b Wan Halkap.

xchange

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia - Reitaku University, Japan

One-Year Study Exchange Programme Report

1. Life in Campus

Reitaku University is located about an hour’s train ride away from central Tokyo in a friendly town called Minami-Kashiwa. Upon arriving, exchange students were welcomed into their home for the year, the Reitaku University Global Dormitory. The dormitory consists of three blocks housing 36 units. Within each unit are six single rooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and two separate water closets. Living arrangements are usually 3 Japanese to 3 foreign students per unit. During registration, we received our student ID, a card that should remain with us at most times not just for display, but to access our dormitory units and to confirm our attendance in lectures by scanning the card through a reader in the classroom.The campus grounds stretch over a considerable area, covering the Reitaku Kindergarten, the Reitaku High School, the Graduate School of Business Studies, the School of Moralogy, the Reitaku Student Plaza, a number of student cafeterias and dining halls, and even Reitaku’s very own hotel! Surprisingly, the commute to class takes only around 6 minutes on foot. The library, though much smaller in comparison to CAIS, has an underground automated shelving system that optimises space. The Cafeteria Hiiragi is a favourite spot for many university students and the closest to the dormitory. Sometimes I get an onigiri (rice ball with fillings) or a bento (Japanese

lunch box) from the nearby konbini (convenience store), LAWSON. There is another in the vicinity called the Daily Yamazaki. Japanese convenience stores live up to what they are called. Apart from getting some quick bites, I can get all sorts of errands conveniently done, from paying my monthly health insurance bills to printing photographs from my latest trip.

2. Academic Courses

Apart from compulsory Japanese language studies, exchange students were free to join courses from both the Faculty of Economics and Business and the Faculty of Foreign Studies, offered in a list specifically for exchange students. I have signed up for the following courses and attended classes with both Japanese and foreign students:

Faculty of Economics and Business

Faculty of Foreign Studies

Current Japanese Economy

Japanese Styles of Management

Philosophy and Economic Behaviour

Corporate Social Responsibility

Business Simulation

Seminar in Economics

Japanese

Top Level English

Commonwealth Countries

Communication Seminar

3. Student Activities

The Reitaku International Friendship Assocation (RIFA) is one of the student clubs which almost every foreign student is a member of. Its purpose is to foster greater friendship among the internationally diverse community of Reitaku University. Meetings are held fortnightly, on Tuesdays during lunch breaks. Members would bring their bento (homemade or from the konbini) and have conversations over lunch in small group settings. It could be a chat about travel experiences or a session of introducing one’s culture and language. RIFA organises several events during each academic year, some of which include a Halloween-themed party, a mini sports day, a two-day bus trip and a farewell party for leaving students at the end of each semester. RIFA gave me a great time in making new friends and knowing more about foreign cultures.

I also joined a jazz music club, Sunny Gates, in which I served as the band pianist. It was a relatively small club of twenty, and all its members were Japanese until I came into the picture. Most of them were talented in multiple instruments and I had the opportunity to try some new instruments under their guidance. We met twice a week for practice sessions in the evenings, lasting three hours each. Members were free to use the clubroom outside meeting hours for personal practice. We performed during a few of Reitaku University’s festivals and there was always a celebratory nomikai (drinking party) thereafter. The club also organised a 5-day training camp in Nagano during summer break for members to concentrate on practice and preparations for upcoming performances in autumn and winter.

4. University Events

Reitaku University is never short of events and festivals throughout the year. Some of the major events include the Reitaku Student Festival and Moralogy Day. Moralogy Day was a unique event - it was the first time I heard of such a thing, and I found out that Reitaku University’s origin was a Moralogy School. The student festival is similar to an open day, with student bodies and clubs running food stalls and performances. Sunny Gates operated a jazz-themed cafe and this time our ensemble performed a 7-piece repertoire. Another occasion during which we performed - the Reitaku Music Festival - also saw several professional Japanese musicians gracing the event.

I had the opportunity of teaming up with the other Malaysians in Reitaku University to pull off a Halal and Islamic Finance Exhibition. There was also an International Week in Reitaku, and I was invited to represent Malaysia in the 5-day event (courtesy of Prof. McVay, under whom I studied Communication). The event took place in the Global Hiroba (hiroba means plaza/public square/forum), a building just across the cafeteria. We had students from Colombia, Myanmar,

Dubai of the UAE, and the Netherlands sharing about their respective countries and cultures too.

The Global Dormitory also has its own event for each season. There was a ohanami (cherry-blossom viewing) party in spring and a BBQ party for summer. In the autumn, we had a pizza-making party while in winter, it was a cake-decorating party.

5. Weekend Activities and Travels

When my weekends were not occupied, they were spent exploring the sights, the smells, and the happenings of Tokyo. Some days would be for visiting museums and exhibitions or manga stores and game stations with friends. Some would be for shopping and dining. I am not really a person fit for a buffet course, but I am glad that I have tried something fascinating - a cake buffet! Japan also seemed endless of festivals, during some of which I was able to reconnect with a few of my childhood friends who were currently pursuing their studies in Japan. Talk about a small world!

 I joined a children's English camp as a volunteer camp staff for three days in Chiba, where I met many adorable and inquisitive children. I was also blessed to experience a Japanese homestay. My host, the Sukuzi family, was very generous in guiding me around the alluring culture of the Japanese. They dressed me in a kimono and took me to a private tea ceremony. We also entered an onsen (natural hot spring), which was quite the experience. Together with Fuyuka Suzuki, also

my classmate in Reitaku University, I went on a trip to Enoshima and around her hometown of Yokohama.

I feel fortunate that I was also able to explore the other regions of Japan in good company. It was a roller-coaster ride filled with theme parks, mother nature, the old and new faces of Japan, lots of walking and map-reading and asking for directions, sweet treats and unusual flavours, and the list goes on. On the trip to Kyoto and Osaka, it was my first time travelling by the night bus. On the way home, we made a detour to Kanazawa, a city in the Ishikawa prefecture. It is famed for its

gold-leaf industry and houses the Kenroku-en Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. In summer, I went up Mt. Fuji with some Malaysian friends and we came back down within the day. In a Sunny Gates outing to Tokyo Disney Sea, I realised how much of a Disney-enthusiast the Japanese are. It is normal to see crowds of visitors, from the young to the old, dressed up as their favourite Disney characters. I also visited Tokyo Disney Land and Universal Studios Japan in

Osaka which opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter not long ago. With my German friend from the same Japanese language class, I went on a two-week backpacking trip covering the Kyūshū (Southern Japan) and the Chūgoku (Central Japan) region. We visited Sakurajima – a volcanic island, Mt. Aso - another volcano where we could actually peer into the crater from the ropeway, Miyajima - an island where we finally get to see the Great Torii Gate, which at high tide seems to float on water, Nagasaki and Hiroshima - the historic cities, and a lot more.

Drawing to a close, my year in Japan was more than just a dream come true. It was a journey of exploring possibilities and of self-discovery; I had challenged myself continually and came to appreciate my country even more. To everyone who made the year possible and to those who filled it with such wonderful memories, thank you very much!

Written by,

Grace K. S. Yee

Name: Grace Yee Khai Sheen

Student ID : 36150

Programme : WE09 International Economics

Home institution : Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

Host institution : Reitaku University

Exchange duration : 1 year (2 semesters)

 

 

SXC

Student Exchange Programme (Outgoing)

The programme aims at providing UNIMAS exchange student high quality educational experiences by exposing them to different culture and learning environments overseas. It is also aimed at promoting international friendship and exposing them to other systems of higher learning that are competitive and challenging.

Admission Requirement

Applicants must be full time students of UNIMAS and are open to undergraduate students who have completed at least 2 semesters of their studies at UNIMAS, good academic standing with minimum CGPA of 2.75. Postgraduate students however, are subject to their good standing at UNIMAS.

Outgoing exchange students must prove that they have sufficient fund to support themselves while studying at the partner University. The University, at its own discretion, may support the outgoing students financially in the form flight ticket, allowances or partial funding. Outgoing exchange students must abide by the partner University’s rules and regulations. The minimum period of study is one (1) semester and the maximum period must not be more that one year or two semesters.

 Credit Transfer

1.  Credits for courses and grade obtained are tranferable for inclusion in the students’ academic records at UNIMAS.

2.  Applicants are required to choose courses from the partner university, fill up the Academic Registration Form (pdf versionMsWord version) and Credit Transfer Form (pdf versionMsWord version) and obtain approval from thier faculty in UNIMAS.

3.  Credit and grade conversion will be calculated based on credit point scales (or other measures of student workload) used by UNIMAS and the host universities.

 

How to Apply

The applicants are required to fill up the Application form for Student Exchange Programme (Outgoing) (pdf versionMsWord version).  Applicants may also obtain the form from the  International Affairs Division (IAD).  Applicants may be required to fill up the application form of the partner university.

Applicants are required to submit the Application for Student Exchange Programme (Outgoing) form with the following :

1. Latest transcript
2. Passport size photo (1)
3. Brief CV
4. Evidence of English proficiency and; 
5. Any other relevant documents, as requested.

Applications must be submitted before the due date of the nearest intake of the partner university. The decision on approval and other related matters will be made by the UNIMAS Students Exchange Committee. The Committee may call students for interview before making the final selection.

Letter of offer to the successful applicants will be issued by the partner university and IAD will facilitate the pre-departure arrangements for the successful students by giving pre-departure briefing, assist with matters such as visa application, and health insurance. 

More detailed information about the Mobility Programme is available in the Student Mobility Guidebook (Outgoing)