6 min read
During my high school years, never had I ever thought of studying at a university in Japan. In my eyes, the country has always been “perfect”: clean atmosphere, convenient lifestyle tamed by trains and buses, and most importantly, rich in culture and history. However, I always believed that it would have been impossible to pursue my education in Japan without learning Japanese. Surprisingly, my decision has proven to be one of the best I have made in my life. Why do people choose Japan and APU in Beppu? There are many stories behind the decision to study in Japan.
From my experience and those of my “senpai” (senior) and “kouhai” (junior) from Vietnam, this article will reveal the reasons why not only was it the right choice for my friends and me, but it might also be for any of the readers out there!
My personal story – Myze, APS (CSM cluster), 3rd year 2nd semester
As mentioned above, my story with APU is rather a nice coincidence. One day during my final year of high school, my friends told me that the APU Vietnam Office would come and introduce themselves at my school. Many of my fellow classmates were interested in the Japanese entertainment industry, but that was not the case for me. However, I still decided to give the APU conference a try, and for sure, it was worth it, since now I am here! The multicultural environment, variety of extra-curricular activities, especially, the absence of a Japanese proficiency exam, etc., are some of the reasons why I had to choose APU in a blink.
During my time in Japan and at the APU campus (I am currently in Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic), I have had many fond memories. Yet, one of the most memorable events was when I first came to AP House. My luggage was hefty, and it was a struggle to get them in all by myself. When my elevator door arrived at the designated floor, I was super nervous, not knowing how to take them out until a Japanese floormate came and gave me a hand. Remember, I did not know anyone at that time, so it was super eart-warming of her – Nanoka - to do so, and Nanoka's courtesy eased my apprehension. Time goes by with ups and downs in college life, but with the first impression, I think of Japan and APU with happiness.
The advice that I will give the newcomers is: Be explorative! I know it can be intimidating coming to a new country or getting used to a new way of studying. However, four years is not a long time. Remember to distribute your time wisely between learning, socializing, and doing “baito.” And by the time you look back, you will realize how much you have grown.
A picture containing building, outdoor
Description automatically generatedMe in Áo dài (Vietnamese traditional costume) in front of the APU twin towers during Vietnamese Week 2019
Khải – APM department (SMO cluster), graduated in 2020
When researching about APU and Japan, I was impressed by the courses they offer and the students' liberty in choosing subjects. Although I am an APM student, I am always thankful for all the APS courses that I have taken along the way, as they helped me achieve a fulfilling academic life with diversity in knowledge. A case in point is Professor Ohashi's Language and Society class.
Moreover, my parents are pleased and assured about the APU environment. APU provides a safe environment for international students to live and study. In the first week of arriving, I got a lot of help from senior students regarding how to get around with the local life. I think I would not receive such support if I chose to study elsewhere.
My most memorable APU experience was working as a Peer Advisor for the Self Access Learning Center (SALC). It is a facility where students come to practice any preferred languages with fellow tutors. It was great helping Japanese students with their English homework and learning from other PAs and teachers doing the same job. Seeing returning students making progress on their language learning was extremely rewarding, and it was also a reminder for me to try harder in my own classes at APU. I also had a chance to work alongside Japanese and Chinese peer advisors in a diverse and inclusive environment - representing the best of what APU stands for.
Khải featured on SALC Facebook fanpage
Hạnh – APS department (IRPS cluster), 2nd year 2nd semester
The story of how I chose APU is rather personal. My family was having a financial crisis at the moment, so without APU's tuition reduction scholarship, I would have never had the chance to study abroad. Moreover, the Japanese culture and environment, particularly Beppu, fits perfectly with my tranquil personality. On the other hand, getting in close touch with Japanese society gives me a chance to acquire their world-renowned strengths and take lessons from their few hidden drawbacks as a way to develop myself. Academically speaking, APU provides endless possibilities in terms of both major subjects and language learning. Up to now, I have attained knowledge in the International Relations field and am able to use 2 other languages in addition to English and Japanese: that is Chinese and Korean.
In addition to the trivial-yet-fulfilling daily experiences, one of the most memorable events at APU was when I became the TA for Oita x APU Global Online Campus. Once every two weeks, on Saturday, the program will have a session on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) conducted by APU Professors, with Oita high school students as participants. Throughout the program, I can see all the kouhai's efforts to overcome the language barrier and use English more. As Japanese people do not have many opportunities to practice English, instead of shaming these kids, we should join hands in creating and encouraging a friendly English-speaking environment for them in their early years.
If there is a word I must pass down to the freshmen, I would tell them to keep a flexible mindset. Japan as well as the world are changing rapidly, so always be ready and let yourself be adaptive. Not being able to physically be in Japan yet might be a tad frustrating. Still, as long as you seek help politely, no one is going to deny your inquiry, and you will get nothing less than valuable knowledge. Last but not least, the APU schedule can quickly become very tight and overwhelming, so do not forget to arrange your timetable suitably!
Hạnh enjoying her trip to Bappu Jigoku Meguri
Every individual’s story is unique, yet I hope the readers can relate to these inspiring stories. I even wish this compilation will motivate future generations to join the APU family. Regardless, I am deeply appreciative to everyone who spent their time reading 'till the end. Hope to see you guys in APU someday, either online or offline!
Tra Phan My VO
How’s everyone doing? I’m Myze (should sound like Mie with a “z” ). I love binge-watching crime documentaries on Netflix, but there’s also the other side of me which just lovees sobby Kdramas so bad! Hope this odd personality can show you guys some interesting insights about APU! ♡