A Semester of Growth and Discovery in Fukui

Published by rahmi on

I have been studying and living in Japan for the Student Exchange Program at the University of Fukui for the fall and spring seasons, starting from September 2023 to March 2024 or one semester. My daily activities as an international student, with a Communication Science background, from Universitas Syiah Kuala, Aceh, Indonesia, involve a variety of subjects and classes.

The classes are conducted in both English and Japanese within a multicultural environment. The students and teachers are from different backgrounds such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Bhutanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, American, British, Nigerian, Congolese, Kyrgyzstani, Indian, Mexican, Guatemalan, Hungarian, Czech, Italian, and so on. Each class assigns one or more projects or assignments, including reports, mini-projects, papers, journal readings, preparation homework for language classes, interviews, and reflections. Besides, there is one interesting class called Traditional Industries available only for exchange students. All class members will take a bus and have a study tour to the traditional industries around Fukui Prefecture. Luckily during the visitation, students will get a chance to make certain goodies as merchandise.

Moreover, the university offers numerous non-academic activities outside of classes, such as volunteering programs, study tours, local excursions, and cultural exchanges. For me, the top 3 most unforgettable experiences are the High School Culture Exchange activity, where I and other students have the chance to introduce our own cultures to Japanese high school students, fundraising activity for the victims of the Noto earthquake at the center of Fukui, and volunteering activity as a game host for Japanese children. I introduced them Indonesian traditional games such as Petak Umpet (Hide and Seek) and Patung-patungan (Red Light Green Light).

Additionally, Fukui University occasionally hosts volunteering and other activities within specific communities, such as the Fukui Rotary Club and the Youth International Exchange Association. During this time, I have gained and improved language skills, leadership experiences, friendships, and valuable moments. However, as an exchange student, it is somewhat challenging for me to engage in off-campus communities because the university expects me to focus on my studies. Nevertheless, participating in university-sponsored activities fulfills me. I got to know Japanese, Japan, Fukui, the locals, friends from around the world, and many things. It feels like I have built relations with every person in the world.

It feels so spectacular and mesmerizing at the same time when I can get experiences in Fukui, Japan. I truly treasure the friends, memories, and involvements I made through this once-in-a-lifetime exchange opportunity. It reminds me of an idiom, 一期一会 (Ichi go ichi e), which means one time, one meeting, signifying “for this time” and “once in a lifetime” experiences.