ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Program:
Faculty:
Ac. year:
Semesters:
Study level:
Language filled in:

SOKA University

Japan 2019/2020 Partner universities

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Arts

Field of study:
Japanese studies

Level of study during period of placement:
Bachelor

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2019
spring 2020

Period of placement (from-to):
2019-09-03 - 2020-07-31

Number of months:
11.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
On the university website; it is also possible to obtain a full course list

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
Physical Examination Certificate
Acceptance Information
Check List
Statement of Financial Eligibility
Fact sheet

the forms for all of the above are provided by the university

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
About half a year

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
Passport
Certificate of Eligibility
Acceptance Letter
A passport format photo not older than 6 months
A filled-in visa application form (provided on the Japanese Embassy website)

Length of wait for visa:
About two weeks

Fee for the visa:
I do not remember if there was any but it is possible

Studies
Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:
yes

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
yes

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
yes

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
first semester wholly on campus, second wholly online due to the covid19 pandemic

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
yes

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
if I'm not mistaken then one their credit was about 1,5 ECTS

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
personal and open, lecturers welcomed questions and encouraged learning

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
about the same

How did you receive study materials?:
either from the lecturers or we bought textbooks

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Nobushiro Osaki, a reading/grammar teacher

How well is the school library equipped?:
reasonably so

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
there is wi-fi coverage with passwords and usernames provided, school system is slightly outdated and not very user-friendly; personal laptop recommended

Options from printing and copying:
a paid-for printer/copier/scanner at school and at every convenience store

Does the foreign school/student organisation arrange special events for exchange students?:
yes

If yes then what?:
various trips (we went to Mt Fuji and there was a ski trip) as well as inclusion in the university festival

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
2

or describe in your own words:
of course, choosing to study Japanese on a foreigner's level did not give much space for being in class with local students under usual circumstances, but there are Japanese students at every dormitory and the teachers made an effort to invite the Japanese students into the lessons when possible

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
Cosmos International Dormitory

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
0 EUR

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
Exchange students stay there for free but they have to take part in cleaning the whole premises which was scheduled twice a week

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
a fully equipped kitchen (of course lacking a proper oven as is usual in Japan)
a washing machine and a drier
a TV in the Japanese room
beddings and cooking utensils, as well as a clothing iron, are provided
for personal electronics, bringing a Japanese adapter is recommended (though they can be cheaply purchased at a Don Quijote by the train station)

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
along with the other documents

What are the catering options?:
There are at least two school cafeterias on campus; the Cosmos dormitory does not have a cafeteria but there are kitchens and shops nearby, making obtaining food very easy

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
I recommend only going for seasonal vegetables and fruits, as the out-of-season ones are ridiculously expensive (one apple can cost about as much as one kilogram of apples); eating western cuisine is more expensive than eating local cuisine. However, as Hachioji is not in central Tokyo, the prices are rather close to those in Brno.

Transport to location of placement:
Plane; the school makes it possible to arrange transport from the airport to the dormitories. It is more complicated when going by oneself.

Rough prices for transportation:
If it's arranged by school then the school pays for it. Otherwise, I don't know.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
People usually know this but visit travel websites in anonymous windows for plane tickets; for local transport, it is easiest to use Suica. The school does provide some help applying for one.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Outside Hachioji, it is fastest to use the trains. Within Hachioji, there are buses, but it is cheaper to use a bicycle or go on foot. I do not think the narrow streets are very bicycle-friendly, though (and this makes cyclists use sidewalks as bike lanes, which was sometimes rather dangerous).

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
A visa. Upon arrival, a temporary citizen card is issued.

What health insurance did you use? (rough price, advantages, disadvantages, is it necessary to arrange insurance at the university other than your home (Czech) insurance?):
ISIC Insurance + mandatory Japanese insurance; my Czech insurance company wanted to go through an unnecessary amount of procedures and I got fed up before I started attempting to arrange that. ISIC is cheaper and much simpler. I do not remember the price for the Japanese insurance but it was not terribly high. The university helps with the application for that, too.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
Yes. During lockdown, I asked for painkillers for my frequent headaches, it took about three weeks of correspondence and in the end I did not receive them. Bring your own.

Did you work during your studies?:
No

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
must apply for a working permit

Tips for free-time activities:
It is of course best to travel; as far as nearby noteworthy places go, there is Mt Takao nearby, full of shrines and statues, and there is a Showa Kinen Park which is quite beautiful and has a very nice Japanese garden (I do recommend renting a bike to get there, though, the park is huge).

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
200000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
20000 CZK

Number of supported months:
10

Total number of months:
11

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
some allowance from my parents in times of crisis

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
0 JPY

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
0 JPY

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 JPY

c/ amount of other fees (which):
0 JPY

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
20000 JPY

a/ of which for accommodation:
0 JPY

b/ of which for catering:
10000 JPY

c/ travel and recreation:
10000 JPY

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
I do not remember exactly and it was wildly inconsistent, but as the tuition is exempted and the accommodation is free, I managed to survive almost on the MU grant alone

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
25

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
40

Did you know in advance which of your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
yes

What problems did you have with recognition?:
none

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
2

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
2

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
2

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
just the pandemic and everything that was related to it; academically, no

What would you recommend to take with you:
painkillers, adapter for a Japanese socket; you do NOT need heavy winter clothing (we hardly ever had temperatures below zero)

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
the campus is very beautiful, and the staff catering to the international students are all very kind and patient people with a great deal of understanding for the confusion and stress international students are influenced by

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
everything official takes rather long to process, and not everyone (for example in the nurse's office) speaks a reasonable level of English, so emergencies were a slight problem

Further comments: