Outline of my exchange study in Japan – Final report for UEC.
I arrived in Narita Airport , Tokyo at October 3rd 2005 to begin a one year exchange program as JUSST student at University of Electro-Communications . In fall semester 2005 I took Japanese Class, UEC Academic Skills I – Computer Literacy, UEC Academic Skills II – Cross Cultural Communications, UEC Academic Skills III – Research and Presentation, Japanese Human Relation, Quality and Reliability Engineering – The Japanese Way, TV Broadcasting, and Independent Studies for Undergraduate. In the spring semester 2006 I took Japanese Languange, Independent Study for Undergraduate, UEC Academic Skills III – Research and Presentation, Information Networks, Introduction to Visual Communications, Introduction to Theory of Computation, and Introduction to MATLAB.
UEC Academic Skills I-III is quite fun. We make our own homepage in Computer Literacy Class and also learnt about Latex. Suzuki Sensei’s assistants (Arqui and Eric) help us a lot during this class. UEC Academic Skills II – Cross Cultural Communication is also interesting. This is the class where we can meet many Japanese students and get along with them. During this class we visits UEC studio and use it, try to become newsman or reporter. UEC Academic Skills III – Research and Presentation make us learn how to make a good presentation. We were divided into several small groups consists of 5-6 people and one tutor. Each week we have a meeting to discuss the progress of our research.
Japanese Human Relation Class is probably the most interesting class that I took during my exchange period in Japan . We learnt mostly about Japanese Culture. The culture that is first not understandable by us (e.g. Why the Japanese sleeps in the train, etc), but finally we could learn to understand their culture. We were invited to visited Nakajima Sensei house to get an experience having tea ceremony. It was quite fun, although most of us already had tea ceremony experience before. We was taught how to receive the tea, how to sit, how to walk in the tatami. In the last day of class, for one day sensei took us around Tokyo to visit Keio University (famous private university in Japan), Tokyo University (the most prestigious university in Japan), Nihombashi (We just know that every point in Japan is measure from this place), Kabuki theater in Ginza, Sanya (the place like Bronx in New York), and also the most famous temple in Tokyo, Asakusa Temple.
The other class is TV Broadcasting. Professor Toyama is quiet an expert in this field. His experience working for NHK for 30 years make him knows everything about TV Broadcasting. He took us visiting NHK Research Laboratory to see the latest technology in broadcasting field. He also took us to Tokyo Tower to see the main function of this tower that is to broadcast TV signals (mainly people see Tokyo Tower as tourist attraction).
Quality and Reliability Engineering – The Japanese Way taught us about quality control. We learn much about quality control in this class. How Japanese product that was underestimated in the 1950s become a product that has excellent quality during the 1980s until now.
In information network class we are taught by Professor Miki. We learn about computer network here. We have to submit several reports during the class. Another class I took is Introduction to Theory of Computation, where we learnt many things about automaton, finite automaton, and also mathematical stuff. This class is one of the basic classes for computer science student and in application could lead us to cryptography. Introduction to MATLAB deals with MATLAB, one of the software that is quite useful in engineering. We have to make a project during the end of the class. The last class I took is Introduction to Visual Communications, mostly deals with visual communications. Sometimes before the class we watch video about the technology of visual communications in the future.
The other class is Independent Study for Undergraduate. In this class I join Aoyama Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent System. All members of this laboratory is Japanese, except me. My research topic is about micro robot. It is called micro robot because it dimension is small, less than 50 milimeters in every dimension. Professor Aoyama and his laboratory member give me a lot of help during this time. Personally I would like to thank to Mr. Yoshiaki Suzuki who help me a lot during my time in this laboratory.
Japanese class is the class that has many credits, 6 credits. In first semester, I was entered Elementary 1 that has 5 students in my class. We learnt how to write Hiragana, Katakana, and after that we learnt the grammar and kanji. This is different from English alphabet, that only has 26 letters, and we combine this letters to make words. There are many kanji, and each kanji has different meaning. Tanaka Sensei, Miyoshi Sensei and Ooki Sensei was try to make this class interesting. In the last class we have origami lesson and also tea ceremony. That was the 3rd tea ceremony I had in Japan . Origami was quite fun, try to make animal or anything from a piece of paper. Elementary II is quite hard; with a lot of kanji to learn. At this time, this class has around 15 students. Like elementary one, we also will have a small presentation about one topic in Japanese language.
Beside that class I took, I also participated in UEC Ryuugakuseika activities, such as UEC Home Visit Program. In this program we can spent one or two days stays with a Japanese family. This is the first time (and also the last time) I tried Japanese food called natto. Last Christmas, ryuugakuseika also invited us to attend Christmas party that is held by Lion Club Chofu. Last June they also arrange etegami (Japanese traditional prostcard) lessons for us. UEC also arranged several visits to Fuchu Primary School . In this visit, we introduced about UEC and our country to school kids (age around 10-12). Most of them barely speak English, and most of us barely speak Japanese, a combination that could make funny things happened.
In Chofu, I joined Chofu International Friendship Association (CIFA) which one of associations where foreign people (usually students) can meet with another foreign people and Japanese people. I also took extra Japanese language class here, once a week, with Tominaga sensei. I also attend some Musashino International Fellowship Association (MIFO) activities, like “tea ceremony and kimono”, and also its welcome party every new semester.
During this exchange program, I meet many students from different countries, Thailand , China , Taiwan , Australia , Mexico , Estonia , and Bulgaria . It is nice to have friends from these countries, and learn a little bit about their language, culture or tradition. After one year in Japan as exchange student, I am not only learnt inside class but also from outside class. I also get new international friends who I would never have if I didn’t get opportunity as exchange student in UEC.