When people think about studying abroad, actually it’s exciting but anxious. Here will come so many worries such as are the students there friendly and easy to make friends? What do they do in their free time? Etc.
As a Chinese student living in Japan, I’ ll introduce you campus life in Japan and China. And how to enjoy studying abroad with different culture.
1. About Japanese campus life.
Firstly, the academic year in Japan is different to most of the countries. It’s starts at April and ends in March, while most countries’ academic years start at September and end in June or July. It means that if you want study abroad in Japan, there’s a half-year long break.
The long break is such a contentious one that it can be a waste of time. I’d say that during the break, there’s so many things you can do. Not only improving your language skills, but also relaxing yourself. As for me, I used this time to relax myself and hung out with my friends who I may have no time to meet while in Japan. It can be a great memory if you make a good choice.
By the way, the beginning of Japanese academic year is beautiful that the Sakura blossoms! If you have a chance to visit Japan, not forget watching this wonderful scenery!
Then, about Japanese students’ wearing, almost all junior and senior high school students have to wear uniforms. Most people don’t get to choose what they wear every day until they get into college, and in response to that new freedom, many of them start spending a lot of money on clothes and accessories. The uniform is unique, but you don’t have chance to see it in college … So disappointing thing…
About academic pressure, it’s similar to Chinese one. Before university, the pressure is pretty strong that students have to wake up early and study from morning to dusk. Tests in Japan is another big pressure for students. However, it becomes pretty friendly in university that as long as you attend class, you can get units, general speaking. Of course, you also need to try to finish your reports, but it’s more relaxing that the one in such as America.
Many Japanese college students live alone, and almost all of my Japanese friends lived in their own apartment. It’s easy to understand it because of the few space.
In Japanese colleges, the students don’t really talk with others during the lecture. Actually, that goes for Japanese elementary, middle, and high schools too. The teacher does the talking, and the students just listen, without asking questions or debating what’s being said.
About their free time, Japanese schools have two classes of extracurricular clubs: “bu” (teams) and “sakuru” (circles). Compared to the “bu,” the circles aren’t as serious-minded, and their focus is more on everyone just having fun as a group.
2. How about Chinese one?
As a Chinese, my country’s schools are very similar to Japanese ones. But there are still many differences between two countries.
Firstly, the academic is similar to western countries. It starts at September, ends in June or July. It’s easier for foreigners to study abroad.
Here is also a rule that students must wear uniforms before college. Chinese uniforms do not look like Japanese sailor wearing, but simpler and more unique. The everyday uniforms for girls are very similar to the boys’ uniform. So actually you cannot say girls wearing uniform skirts.
Generally speaking, Chinese uniforms can be a little fresh to foreigners, but they are just simple and a little bit boring.
About academic pressure, as I said, it’s similar to Japanese one that it can be pretty stressful before university, and it becomes more relaxing while you are in university.
Before university, students have to wake up early and study from morning to dusk. There are so many tests every week, and the knowledge’s meanings are just for tests… I mean that the teachers just let you use the knowledges to get higher grades in test, but not to open your eyes to the world… I hate this system! It’s a quite boring and disappointing thing to me…
However, all the pressure disappears after high school. Chinese college also needs you to attend class. But it’s even more free than Japanese one that my friends said they play video games everyday and only spend a little time finishing their homework and reports. So Chinese college can be a more relaxing place than Japanese for foreigners.
Chinese colleges almost have dormitories, because of the wild space. Dormitories are usually for two ~ six students, and they share the WC and washing machine.
Of course, private time can be a trouble. Roommates all know that, so they almost don’t get in the way of you. Sometimes they just ask you what you’re doing now, and you just answer them. If you feel it’s annoying, you can ask the apartment manager to change roommate, or live alone in other apartment.
Anyway, it chooses roommates. I lived in dormitory while I was in high school, and my roommates were great. We got along well that it ‘s still an excellent memory of my high school life.
There’re also many clubs in China. The activity of club in high schools and university should be divided.
In high school, because of the academic pressure, they don’t have enough time to do club activities unfortunately….
But in university, clubs become a great team but not circle. They do many activities and everyone needs to achieve something. While it’s not popular that more students want to do their own things, or just play video games, lol.
3. Try to enjoy Japanese campus life.
As I said, there’s not so much academic pressure in Japanese college. Some courses don’t even require you to show up, and instead just ask you to write a report and turn it in at the end of the semester to pass the class.
So there’re many methods to enjoy Japanese campus life.
At first, you can spend time learning your academic knowledge. If you have any question, you can ask professors. Almost all the professors are friendly to students, and not only teach you answer but also how to get the answer.
Of course, you can do something in your free time. You can join a club. Be careful of the club which is a “bu” (teams) of “sakuru” (circles).
Circles have more freedom and they even spending so much time drinking together. I don’t drink, and it was amazing for me that the club invited me to drink! So it’s important to clearly know the club is “bu” or such circle. You should also know that the relationship is complex that if you have joined, you cannot choose who but all the members to work together… In my opinion, choosing suitable club for yourself can be another necessary point in Japanese campus.
Try to join the several activities of college. There’s an international center in a college, and you can get much information about global party and culture lesson. College sometimes needs some volunteer and it also can be a great chance to make native friends.
So many Japanese have part time jobs. They work hard and make new friends, and they get salary to hang out with friends and buy somethings they love. Foreigners are allowed to work 28 hours a week, so you can find a part time job, to make friends, improve your Japanese, and get salary.
Finally, I have to say that almost every Japanese high school and university has school festival. It looks like a ceremony of campus every year, but in fact you can have fun joining the shows and have a taste of snacks or yakisoba made by students. School festival is such great tradition of Japanese school.
If you have a chance, go and enjoy the festival!
4. Try to enjoy Chinese campus life.
The greatest advantage of studying abroad in China is the low payment. China offers a number of scholarships for overseas students looking to study there. Even without this, tuition fees are significantly cheaper compared to the cost in the US, UK and elsewhere in Asia. Fees can be as low as £1,300 ($1,710) per academic year.
Day to day living costs are low, too.Tube tickets in Beijing start as low as 23 pence, while cheap (but questionable) clothing can be picked up at local markets for the frugal spender.
Anyway, you can easily know that the fee is pretty low, so your pressure of living will not be so strong.
Because of the wide space, China is diverse and each province has its own cultural norms, local foods, drinks and customs. With its size and reasonably cheap travel costs there is the opportunity to explore the entire country, from modern sights such as ice cold Harbin or Shanghai’s city life to ancient wonders including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
So it’s an excellent choice to go out to watch the different sceneries and know more about the city you’re living in. You can make a plan to trip to somewhere, or just hang out with your friends in your free time.
About your campus, almost all the Chinese teachers and professors are friendly to others, and you can build a good relationship with your professors and classmates.
Various clubs are waiting for you, if you have some free time, joining a club can be a great choice. Usually clubs in China are organized just like Japanese “bu”(team), so you don’t need to worry about drinking, but need to participate the activities of the club.
Finally, Chinese colleges have ceremonies, but usually no school festivals. Festival can be rare to see, and sometimes there are just some sports competitions.
5.About other countries’ campus life.
Then let me introduce you other countries’ school life.
Firstly, how about USA?
Studying in the USA is expensive with price differences between state (government) and private education. Students who study in the state they live in can get cheaper tuition fees. Some of my Chinese classmates are studying abroad in USA, and they told me that the fees are too high… Maybe only financially affordable families can pay for their children…
Unfortunately, academic pressure in USA is a crazy thing. Every day they have to study their butts off. And you have a report to write every other week, on top of reading the textbook and other assigned materials, plus getting your term papers ready to submit. When finals time rolled around, sometimes the library is so packed with students studying that there’s no place to sit.
But you can also enjoy the campus life because of the various entertainments. Everybody can enjoy the freedom and flexibility that being a college student provides. You can hang out with friends or just go out to a movie. You can enjoy other activities, for example, Alexandra volunteers at a local therapeutic riding center which has been “a huge part of my life this last semester. Working with horses can be a huge passion and being able to give up your free time to help people with disabilities ride has been so uplifting.
About Turkey, university is free for some students because they have scholarships. The government gives money to students but it’s like a loan. The students have to pay back the money when they start working.
Weekly they study approximately 10-12 hours, and they have around 20 hours of lectures. They have a lot of private and state universities. The students are all over 18 but we have older students studying at their 2nd university.
There are so many places to have fun day or night. In Istanbul, there are so many options when it comes to nightlife. You can pick clubs, just casual bars, jazz bars, karaoke bars or just a nice restaurant. The best part is the prices are for students in particular places.
We’d see that campus life in different countries can be diverse. It depends on not only the culture, but also the education system. Studying abroad can be a great challenge for us, to open our eyes to the world. Get certainly know the different campus life, and you can enjoy it!
Good luck to you!
5 ways college life is different in Japan and U.S.
Japanese School Uniform Basics<https://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Japanese_School_Uniforms >
Bunka-sai Japanese School Festival<http://ghrjapan.com/blog/archives/1373?lang=pt>
There are various after-school activities in Japan. <http://japan-culture.biz/after-school-activities-in-328.html >
University life in: China <https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/advice/university-life-china >
School Life Netflix USA <https://whatsnewonnetflix.com/usa/1847673/school-life-2019 >
Exploring Turkey <https://thecityschool.edu.pk/exploring-turkey/ >