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Japanese students and KU-SGU

Growing into global human resources who can thrive in global society under the KU brand,
through self-improvement as individuals and as specialists.

*Study Abroad First Step Program in New Zealand*
School of Environmental Design, College of Science and Engineering

HAYASHI YOSHIFUMI

I have always been interested in study abroad, however, I was not able to participate in any program in the past and I was already a fourth-year student. Since I decided to go to graduate school, I finally decided to join this “First Step Program in New Zealand” this summer before the graduation.

Because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, Japan and New Zealand’s seasons are opposite, so when I left, Japan was winter but New Zealand was summer. Weather in New Zealand was sunny and I felt very refreshing. So many sheep were gently walking in the meadow, surrounded by the beautiful sea. In the relaxed atmosphere there, I felt so relaxed.

I could feel the difference between classes in Japan and at Waikato University, where I studied abroad. In Japan, students take English classes passively. On the other hand, I had to actively learn English and it sometimes meant physically in New Zealand. It was a struggle for me at first due to the big difference, but gradually I was able to enjoy the atmosphere and the new learning method. Although it was only three-week program, it thought me the joy of speaking English. In addition, I was able to interact not only with local students, but also with Japanese students from different universities, which inspired me a lot in many ways.

In addition, you may already know but this program let all students stay with host families, which are carefully selected by Waikato University accommodation staff, for three weeks. Through this home stay opportunity, I was able to experience the culture and the life of New Zealand, directly. New Zealanders are very friendly and they value their family and their private life. On weekends, I enjoyed joining activities such as barbecue together with my host family. At first, it was very hard for me to express my feelings in English so I believe it sometimes bothered the family and their friends, however, locals patiently waited and tried to understand what I wanted to say. It was such a wonderful way for me to learn that the most important thing in communication is to try my best to express how I feel even with my imperfect English. I truly thank them for welcoming me as their family.

Meeting various people greatly shaken my sense of values in life and I was able to look at myself with an objective eye. New Zealand is the perfect destination for those who want to fully enjoy its nature while studying!

If you are interested in study abroad but feels it is maybe too late to do so like me, I would say it is never too late! Just challenge yourself to anything! This program is the best option for you.

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