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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From WASEDA to New Zealand

Ms. Kayo Hayashi
4th year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

On September 4th of this year, an earthquake of approximately magnitude 7 struck New Zealand. Despite such a powerful quake, there were no deaths in the city of Christchurch. This city is where I spent a year studying abroad. Although Christchurch is the largest city on the south island of New Zealand, it has a population of only about 380,000, making it a very small city when compared to the metropolis of Tokyo. As reflected by its nickname of "Garden City", Christchurch contains many beautiful parks. Strolling through these parks is extremely pleasant.

The University of Canterbury is located on the western side of the city. The university campus also contains a large amount of greenery, making for a beautiful atmosphere. Students spend their time lying on the grass and basking in the sun, chatting at cafes, and studying at the library. The largest university class that I took had approximately 400 students, while the smallest class had only about 10 students. Although some projects and classes were difficult and left me somewhat frustrated, the professors gave me patient and kind instruction when I asked for help. The professors give their personal contact information and offer consultation to students. Although most of the students were of Western descent, there were also students from Asia, Samoa and Fiji, as well as students of the Maori race which were the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand.

Entrance to a cave and the start of a thrilling adventure.

In addition to my classes, I spent busy and fun-filled days by going hiking and participating in exchanges with other international groups. Even with just a single glance, the nature of New Zealand will remain in a person's memory forever. The beauty of starry skies, crystal-clear rivers, and green lakes cannot be described in words. I participated in cave walking with an international exchange circle within the university. Also, during weekday nights, I enjoyed cultural exchanges while having dinner with foreign exchange students and people on working holidays from a variety of different countries.

However, the Japanese community actually provided me with the most help during my study abroad. I visited the only Japanese church in the city of Christchurch. At the church, I met a Japanese person who had lived in New Zealand for many years. We went shopping together, and the person often drove me around and gave me recommendations for places to see in New Zealand. Before leaving to begin my study abroad, I was intent on making friends with local people. However, I felt uneasy at times, and the presence of this Japanese community was very important to me. Thanks to the existence of the Japanese community, I was able to spend an enjoyable time at university and to make local friends.

Members of the Japanese community who helped me during my study

I believe that it is a mistake to shun contact with Japanese people when studying abroad. Instead, making Japanese friends will give you someone to depend on in times of trouble and will give you encouragement. Solving such worries will allow you to fully enjoy your time studying abroad.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)