By Natasha Ubani
Last month, I regaled you with the tale of my first encounter with a high-tech Washlet. Now, I have been in Tokyo for two months and I can tell you there is more to life than intelligent toilets.
First and foremost, I came to Tokyo to study, so let me introduce my exchange school: Waseda University. A year in Tokyo means that the entirety of my Junior year will be completed here at Waseda, one of Japan’s finest higher institutions of learning. I did not go into much detail about the University last time, but now I can deliver the great, the good, and the nitty-gritty.
This is by no means “my first rodeo” in the world of study abroad. With each opportunity abroad, I gain experience not only in different countries but different continents. You could say that I’ve become somewhat of an expert on being the newbie. When it comes to the many peculiarities and differences in culture, specifically University culture, there is always a learning curve.
Multiple Campuses, Big Experience
To begin, it is important to understand that Waseda University has multiple campuses around Tokyo apart from its main campus located in Waseda. I have never studied at a multi-campus University, so moving from campus to campus has been an adventure in and of itself.
For example, all my core academic classes are on the main campus, but to use the gym, I travel to the Toyama campus. This has been a good thing. I am now more comfortable navigating Tokyo and I have gotten to know more of the region because I’m not heading in the same direction every day.
Speaking of the gym and other student activities, students at Waseda are very involved. I can honestly say that I have not yet met a Waseda student who was not either playing a sport, editing the school newspaper, organizing a fashion show, part of a choral ensemble, or some other endeavor. The mind-blowing part? They do all these while juggling 18 to 24 credits per semester. I remember registering for my classes and discovering that 24 credits per semester was the norm. I thought, “Everyone probably does nothing but study!” Obviously, I’ve been proven wrong.
Being a part of a student body that maintains a rigorous academic plate but dedicates time to things outside of studying has given me a new perspective, and a second wind.
It is easy for us, as students, to become overwhelmed by the pressure of good grades. We may even step away from other important gratifying aspects of university life. We forget that those extracurriculars also help shape us into well-rounded individuals. Suffice it to say, these past months at Waseda have inspired me to pursue passions outside of studying. This fall, I’m taking ten courses (a total of 20 credits), half of which are business related courses. From that mix of non-business courses, I’m really enjoying my Japanese language courses and a Global Asia Seminar, focused on the diplomatic history of post-war Japan. Ten more months to go, so there will definitely be more updates coming your way. Until next time, wish me luck with deciphering Kanji.
Sore dewa mata!
Natasha Ubani is an international student from Nigeria. Ms. Ubani is a Junior at JU pursuing a double major in International Business and Marketing. She is currently spending her Junior year at Waseda University in Tokyo as an exchange student through the Davis College of Business.