Student Comments

Student Comments

Messages from International Students

Allyssa Schoen

Exchange student from Montana State University, U.S.A.

My experiences in coming to Japan have taught me a good deal about myself and about how the world around me works. When I first decided to go to Japan, I was a high school student with no experience with travel, new cultures, or even learning a new language. The first time I applied to a study abroad program, I was a junior in high school and my application was denied because of my age. The second and third time, Covid shut down the program that I would go through. Covid nearly caused me to quit trying to study abroad at all due to the uncertainty of being able to go to a new country. However, I decided to try to study abroad one last time after I heard that Japan would be opening its borders to American citizens. When I applied and got in, I could not believe it. I was overjoyed. I kept up with all of the different things required to study abroad and eventually made it to Japan, which was my first time in a foreign country. It was also my first time traveling alone.

The first day I was in Japan I was quickly greeted by the fact that the little Japanese I did know was not enough to get around without help. But as luck would have it, a multitude of people were exceedingly kind to me and helped me get to where I needed to go. When I arrived in Kumamoto, I was happy to know that everyone was extremely kind and understanding about my absolute beginner-level Japanese. The different orientations made my first week here fly by and I was quickly making more friends and learning Japanese little by little. My first month I spent getting used to the new culture, time difference, and language with the help of my friends and the staff at the International Office. I got to wear a kimono for the first time and eat so many foods that are unique to Japan. It was a whirlwind of a month, but I learned more that month than ever before because everything was new to me despite my previous research. The following months I spent in much the same way, learning by experience, exploring new perspectives through the culture, and continuing to make so many more friends. As I get ready to return to Montana, I am realizing that this experience allowed me to grow in countless ways and become a better student, friend, and a better person. It has reminded me to fight for what I want and that no matter where I started at, as long as I pursue my goals I will get better. I hope that everyone who reads this is reminded that there is always an opportunity to gain experience and to learn more about the world around us.

Kim Gyeombi

Exchange student from Daejeon University, Korea

Study abroad at Kumamoto Gakuen University was a great experience. This experience gave me opportunity to make new friends not only from Japan, but also from all over the world. It was also an opportunity to improve my Japanese skills. The staff at the Office of International Education, and the students of Kumamoto are very kind. Kumamoto is such a comfortable place to live. The air is surprisingly clean, and you can even drink the tap water. The area around the school is quiet, slow, and calming. The Office of International Education informed me about various cultural and local events, so I had a good experience participating in many traditional Japanese customs and cultural festivals during my stay in Kumamoto. You can also make fun memories at the dormitory, like studying together and having birthday parties. I believe the experience of the exchange program in Kumamoto will be useful for guiding my life in a positive direction.

Ning, Yanning

Exchange student from Xiangsihu College of GuangXi Minzu University, China

Influenced by anime, I had a variety of ideas about my future life before I came to Japan to study abroad. None of my relatives or classmates had studied in Japan, and this was the first time I had studied in Japan on my own, so I was a little worried about my future life in Japan. However, since I came to KGU as an exchange student, my worries have disappeared. The teachers and classmates are very friendly and have helped me a lot in life and in my studies. They have also helped me gradually adapt to the new environment.

The dormitory and supermarket are very close to the school. It is just 10 minutes by foot, which is very convenient. Also, the campus is very beautiful.

In addition, at KGU, you can gain a variety of knowledge and make new friends. The campus has a special language exchange room, where you can rest at noon and communicate and learn with students from different countries. The campus also organizes various study tours, where you can learn about Japanese culture and enjoy the scenery. At the same time, the classes here are very interesting, and the classroom atmosphere is also very active. If you encounter something that you don't understand, you can ask the teachers and classmates. There are many language courses here,you can choose not only Japanese, but also English, Korean, German, and other language courses you want to learn. Don't worry about not being able to speak well, because as long as you have the confidence to express yourself positively, you will be fine. If you want to study or learn something else, there is a library which is very well equipped with not only all kinds of books, but also listening materials and movies!

If you want to experience a different campus life, KGU is a good choice for you!

Shih, Wen-Yen

Exchange student from National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

I am glad to be able to come to Kumamoto Gakuen University as an exchange student.

Everyday life here fulfilling, and you can experience a variety of things. In addition to Japanese, you can also learn Japanese related to Japanese culture and business. There are also many activities outside of class. For example, at the school festival I set up a mock stall with other international students and staff from Office of International Education. I think it is a valuable experience that I would not have had if I didn’t come to study abroad. There is also hike in Aso and other social events. Also, the staff in the Office of International Education, and the teachers in other classes were very kind and gentle, so I was very grateful for their help. In addition to school life, I also really enjoyed my time at the international dormitory. The dormitory environment and facilities are well-equipped and there are assistants to support international students' daily life. As a result, life in Kumamoto became even more comfortable. I often ate with everyone in the dormitory, and we sometimes went out and play together. There are so many interesting things to do every day, so I spent each day filled with anticipation, wondering, “What will happen today?''

Although I only lived in Kumamoto for six months, the memories I made with the people I met here are precious treasures to me. The memories I spent here have become a big page in the book called my life.

Do Ngoc Mai

Exchange Student from Vietnam National University, Vietnam

I am very glad that I chose Kumamoto Gakuen University to study abroad. At first, I was looking forward to studying in Japan, but at the same, I was worried about whether I would be able to adjust to life in Japan. But now I can clearly say that there is no need to be worried. I have come to love this place, which is full of nature and makes me feel the warmth of people. Above all, living in the international dormitory was fun and safe. I was able to have a fulfilling study abroad experience by hanging out and studying together with exchange students from other countries, traveling to many attractive places in Kumamoto, and experiencing events such as cultural festivals. Also, because I came from a different country, I was exposed to a variety of values, and my own values expanded. On the other hand, of course, I sometimes had negative feelings of missing my family, but the kind people around me helped me deal with that loneliness. It was a truly important experience and an unforgettable memory. Also, thanks to studying abroad, I was able to improve my Japanese, acquire knowledge about Japanese culture and custom, and deepen my understanding of other cultures. Furthermore, I learned the Kumamoto dialect, and for some reason it makes me happy when I try to use it in my daily life. When I return to Vietnam, I would like to utilize the experience I gained in Japan to grow further. I'm looking forward to the day when I can come to Kumamoto again.

Alexander Gruft

Exchange student from La Trobe University , Australia

Being able to study at Kumamoto Gakuen University is something I will forever be grateful for. It has taught me so much, and my experience living and studying here are lively, rich and full. The staff at International Office are extremely kind and welcoming, and they organize events which involve exchange students with the university, its local students and staff and the Kumamoto environment right away. I love Kumamoto city; it’s got a bustling centre with quiet outskirts, and a great castle overlooking it all. It allows for a true experience of japan and its culture; both old and new. There is so much to discover and see here, and Japanese culture is one so deep and intriguing that one will never reach its bottom. I strongly believe that an exchange program in Kumamoto will bring huge changes to one who takes the journey, and will help enhance their lives in many ways during and afterward.

Sander Dane

International student from Netherland

After a couple of years of studying Japanese, I finally got accepted as a full-time student at two Japanese universities. KGU and a university in Tokyo were my choices. Choosing where to go was easy. Kumamoto is a much nicer place to live than Tokyo. It is less stressful, the people here are really friendly, and Kumamoto food is very delicious.
Coming to KGU is one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I've met amazing friends here so far, and because there aren't too many foreign students, I feel like it is more of a Japanese university experience than if I had chosen Tokyo. The support I've been getting from this school is great, and any problem, big or small, is solved super quickly. KGU is an absolutely fantastic place, and I highly recommend coming here!

Lisa Heinemann

Exchange student from Heinrich Heine University, Germany

Studying at KGU was a very special experience for me. The campus is small but beautiful with all the trees. There are also lots of places to eat on campus or nearby. The teachers care a lot about their students and try to show us interesting places which will teach us something about Japanese culture. We can always depend on the friendly staff of the Office of International Esucation to help us with issues that might come up. They also inform us about local events!
Kumamoto is a lovely place to live because you can enjoy the benefits of a smaller city: the surrounding nature as well as shopping malls or karaoke. The people here are very friendly and there are lots of opportunities to make new friends, e.g. going to the language exchange meetings at Freshness Burger on Wednesdays or simply attending the welcome parties held at KGU.

Joradol Chanon

International student from Thailand

I chose Kumamoto because it’s not a huge city like Tokyo or Osaka so the cost of living is not too high. Kumamoto City is easy to live in. If you want to enjoy country life and beautiful nature, Kumamoto is the best choice for you.

As an international student in KGU, you can gain not only knowledge but also new friends and new experiences. I entered the Green Philharmonic Orchestra and had a chance to play violin with other Japanese friends. In KGU I had many chances to do things that I loved and also be supported very well by the Office of International Education. New beginnings, new friends, and new experiences are waiting for you here in KGU.